Nearly 40,000 people have been displaced as lava continued to flow from Mount Mayon after its three phreatic eruptions over the weekend, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday.
The NDRRMC said that as of 2 a.m., a total of 9,480 families or 38,939 people have evacuated their homes in 36 barangays in the towns of Camalig, Guinobatan, Daraga, Malilipot and Santo Domingo and the cities of Ligao, Tabaco and Legazpi in Albay province.
The families are currently staying at least 30 evacuation centers.
Daraga and Camalig residents make up the majority of those who evacuated.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said in an earlier report that it had recorded a total of 143 lava collapses during its 24-hour monitoring of the volcano, from 8 a.m. Tuesday to 8 a.m. Wednesday.
It also said that lava effusion from a new summit lava dome and lava collapses indicate the volcano’s “eruptive activity.”
PHIVOLCS raised Alert Level 3 over the volcano after three phreatic eruption over the weekend.
The alert level means hazardous eruption is possible in days or weeks.
Several small pyroclastic flows were generated by fragments in the lava streams and not by an explosion from the crater vent, like occurred with Mount Pinatubo, according to Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum.
Pyroclastic flows are superheated gas and volcanic debris that can race down slopes and incinerate everything in their path, and are feared in a major eruption.
Mr Renato Solidum said: “The pyroclastic flows, there were several, were not generated by an explosion from the crater with lava, molten rocks and steam, shooting up the volcano then rolling down.
“These were generated by lava fragments breaking off from the lava flow in the upper slopes.”
The potentially deadly lava flows have prompted the provincial government to shut more schools after Phivolcs recorded nine episodes of tremors, four of which accompanied lava fountains.
It also noted 75 lava collapse events as pressure builds up leading to lava flows and ash plumes, reiterating its warning that a hazardous eruption could happen any time.