Philippines volcano lava bursts send 34,000 residents scrambling for safety

The lava is emerging from Mount Maya, the most powerful volcano in the province of Albe in the Philippines. Scientists have already warned that the lava is about 2 km long and can stretch up to 6 km. Officials are evacuating villages around this area. About 34,000 people have already been evacuated to rehabilitation camps.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the lava flowed as much as 1.2 miles from the cloud-shrouded crater of Mount Mayon, while ash fell on several villages in northeastern Albay province.

“This kind of eruption, it will take about weeks, so we have to sustain the operations in the evacuation centers,” Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara told the news channel.

Officials strongly advised people not to venture into a danger zone about 3.7 to 4.3 miles around Mayon. Those being cautioned included residents who want to check their homes, farms and animals, and tourists seeking a closer view, the Associated Press reported.

“They say it’s beauty juxtaposed with danger,” Office of Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot said.

Albay officials declared a state of calamity in the province of more than a million people to allow more rapid disbursement of disaster funds, Nunez said.

“We have witnessed lava fountaining yesterday, that’s why we have additional families who evacuated due to the threat,” said Romina Marasigan, spokeswoman of the government’s main disaster-response agency.

Mayon is in coconut-growing Albay province, about 210 miles southeast of Manila. With its near-perfect cone, it is popular with climbers and tourists but has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes violently.

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