Albay, Bicol has been on high alert as Mayon Volcano continues to spew lava, resulting in the evacuation of nearly 20,000 people from the region. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), around 19,062 individuals, or 5,492 families are currently sheltered in 28 evacuation centers. Additionally, 1,057 individuals or 300 families are seeking refuge outside of these designated centers. As of now, there have been no reported fatalities or missing persons.
The slow lava flow from Mayon Volcano’s summit dome has traveled approximately 1.5 kilometers along the Mi-isi Gully. Furthermore, lava collapse on the Mi-isi and Bonga Gullies has extended to 3.3 kilometers from the crater. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has also recorded three volcanic earthquakes, 274 rockfall events, and 11 pyroclastic density current events within the past 24 hours.
As Mayon Volcano continues to pose risks to residents in Albay, authorities are providing assistance amounting to P62,426,692.65 to support those affected, particularly in the province. The number of evacuees has increased as those living within the seven-kilometer radius of the danger zone have been transferred to other towns, according to Eugene Escobar, officer-in-charge of the Albay Public Safety and Management Office (APSEMO).
To minimize further threats, entry into the six-kilometer radius of Mayon Volcano’s Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited, while the Office of Civil Defense looks into potential ways to ban settlements within the area. Governor Edcel Greco Lagman has announced the consideration of permanent relocation for residents living within the six-kilometer radius of PDZ, with over 3,000 families requiring new homes, as highlighted by Escobar.
At present, Mayon Volcano is experiencing magmatic unrest which has led to the volcano being put under Alert Level 3. Dr. Paul Alanis, a resident volcanologist at the Mayon Volcano Observatory, has stated that the current activity in the volcano may last for a maximum of three months. While no explosive eruption has occurred so far, PHIVOLCS’ observations and data are constantly being monitored for any potential changes in the situation.
In light of this, authorities are urging the public to remain vigilant and to follow evacuation orders if necessary in the event of worsening conditions.
Despite the ongoing unrest, there are currently no plans to raise the alert level status of Mayon Volcano. However, PHIVOLCS has warned that a sudden steam-driven or phreatic eruption similar to the one that occurred in 2013 could potentially happen. It is therefore important for everyone to remain cautious and be prepared for any eventualities.
In response to the recent activity of Mayon Volcano, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Philippines has taken action. The organization has prepositioned 153,000 relief goods and cash assistance to support those affected by the volcanic activity. At the same time, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has established welfare desks and first-aid stations in evacuation centers located throughout Albay province.
Chairman Richard Gordon has assured that they are closely monitoring the situation and are prepared to respond if needed. Mayon Volcano is known as one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, with its last major eruption occurring in 2018. As a result of its current activity, several schools in the region have closed, and flights to Legazpi City have been canceled due to low visibility caused by the ashfall.