The eruption of the Mayon volcano forces the evacuation of 20,000 people in the Philippines

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Nearly 20,000 people have been evacuated in the last hours in the Philippines due to the risk posed by the eruption of the May贸n volcano, which is causing explosions and lava fountains that maintain the alert level at degree three out of five, according to the country's authorities. The National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC) has indicated that the evacuees are in 27 centers, with no personal injuries reported for the moment.

"As long as there is no one in the permanent danger zone, we don't expect there to be casualties. But the challenge really is how to maintain or manage the evacuation centers, because this is where we could have problems. We have to prevent disease outbreaks," he said. NDRRMC spokesman Raffy Alejandro, speaking to the ABS-CBN television channel.

There are no recorded victims so far

These statements come after the agency received preliminary reports that cases of diarrhea have been reported in evacuation centers, while health authorities have reported cases of respiratory problems.

The Philippine government is contemplating the possibility of building permanent evacuation centers in the province of Albay, where May贸n is located, given the continuous eruptions of the most active volcano in the Philippines, which in 2018 and 2014 forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, as announced yesterday at a press conference by the president of the country, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Also in Camalig, the regional government has begun to offer jobs to the most needy families who have left their homes a few kilometers from there, from assistance in cleaning of the centers to kitchen work.

May贸n, about 330 kilometers from Manila, is considered one of the most volatile active volcanoes in the country. Earthquakes and volcanic activity are common in the Philippines because of its position in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where tectonic plates collide.


A woman with her child in her arms watches the volcanic activity in Legazpi, Philippines.

Aaron Favila/LaPresse

The May贸n volcano, due to the beauty of its almost perfect conical shape, is also one of the great tourist attractions in the area. Its last eruption occurred in 2018, when more than 75,000 people had to be evacuated. Mayon's deadliest eruption occurred in 1814, when some 1,200 people perished, buried by rivers of lava and volcanic rock falls, according to estimates published by the Philippine seismological agency Phivolcs.

Phivolcs once again warned of the growing risk of landslides or lahars, avalanches of ash, mud and sediment that May贸n spits out and that accumulate every day on the slopes of the volcano. In case of raising the alert to level four, it would force residents within a radius of up to eight kilometers to move, that is, some 40,000 people.

The most powerful eruption in recent decades was that of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, which killed more than 800 people. That disaster produced an ash cloud that traveled thousands of kilometers.


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Agencies

The timelapse of the Mayon volcano in the Philippines spewing lava

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