Phivolcs raises volcano alert, warns of hazardous eruptions

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AVIATION authorities warned pilots against flying their planes close to the peak of Mayon Volcano because of the danger posed by its ash eruptions.

PHIVOLCS said traces of ash fell on Barangay Anoling in Daraga, Barangays Sua, Quirangay, Tumpa, Ilawod, Salugan of Camalig, and Barangays Tandarora, Maninila, and Travesia in Guinobatan.

In its latest update, PHIVOLCS added that another phreatic eruption occurred today at 12.49am GMT (08.49am local time).

The phreatic or stream-driven eruption of Mayon Volcano in Legazpi, Albay started at 4:21 p.m. Saturday, which lasted for an hour and 47 minutes.

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Phivolcs has raised alert level 2 over Mayon, which means that the cause of the restiveness could be magmatic, leading possibly "to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions".

The authorities have warned people off a six-km radius around the volcano, and have issued a level 2 alert as concern grew over the possibility of stronger and more risky eruptions.

It last erupted in 2014, spewing lava and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

It also said that the 6-kilometer (km) permanent danger zone around the volcano, as well as the 7-km extended danger zone, should be enforced "due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides, and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows".

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But Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said those in evacuation centers may be allowed to return to their homes later in the day, unless Phivolcs raises the volcano alert level further.

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said the volcano appeared due for another eruption as it has been displaying abnormal behavior since late a year ago.

PHIVOLCS said: "In case of ash fall events, which are most likely to affect communities on the western and southwestern flanks downwind of Mayon's crater, people should cover their nose and mouth with a damp, clean cloth or dusk mask".

"We have not reached the critical level", he said in a radio interview.

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