Mayon in ‘soft eruption’; Palace officials fly to Albay

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Monday, 13 October 2014 - Last Updated on October 13, 2014

Authorities announced on Sunday that Mayon Volcano in Albay is on “soft eruption” at volcanologists spotted lava flowing out, but the alert level remains at 3.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda made the announcement based on the result of the aerial survey of the volcano, but the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the volcano’s activity is described as “non-explosive eruption.”

“What has been happening since September 15 and today would be the non-explosive eruption. The first activity started on September 15 and lasted for a few days. After that, there was a lull or no summit activity, but this morning, our volcanologists spotted a lava flow,” Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said in a report.

But Solidum warned that the non-explosive eruption may transition to an explosive phase, based on Mayon’s record of eruptions.

“Small explosions would happen before the big explosion, and (we will) see continuous swelling of the volcano’s slopes. We haven’t seen that, except for the continuous but slow swelling of the slopes,” he said.

He added that the alert level will be raised to 4 once the magma movement quickens and volcanic earthquakes occur more often.

Alert level 3 has been raised for nearly a month now since the volcano showed signs of lava flows. This means that a hazardous eruption is imminent.

Phivolcs said a six-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone around the volcano should be enforced “due to the danger of rock falls, landslides and sudden explositions of dome collapse.”

Arounfd 12,931 families or 57,633 people have been evacuated following Mayon’s recent activity, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

With an eruption imminent, Palace officials flew to Albay on Sunday to check the status of evacuation centers.

Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were among those who visited Albay.

The government said at least 31 trucks carrying food packs, blankets and other necessities are distributing relief goods in Guinobatan, Albay.

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