Nearly 40,000 people have fled the area surrounding the Mayon volcano (Albay province) as of Wednesday, January 17, since it began erupting four days prior. Philippine authorities continue to encourage individuals to evacuate areas within a 7-km (4.4-mi) radius of the crater on the southern flank of the volcano - due to the risks of rockfalls, landslides, and lava flows. Authorities have erected checkpoints on roads leading to the volcano to prevent tourists from approaching the hazardous area.
According to The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), a hazardous eruption is possible in the coming days and weeks; significant transportation disruptions are expected if such an eruption occurs. Civil aviation authorities have been advised to avoid flying near the volcano crater due to the risk of sudden eruption. Due to prevailing wind patterns, ash is expected to fall on the southwestern side of the volcano in the event of additional ash eruptions.
PHIVOLCS raised the alert level for the Mayon volcano to 3 (on a five-tier scale) on January 14. On January 16, the lava reached the edge of the 6-km (3.7-mi) radius exclusion zone. Furthermore, authorities declared Albay province under a “state of calamity” due to the advancing threat.
The volcano last erupted in 2014, which prompted thousands of people to evacuate adjacent areas.
Individuals present in or intending to travel to the affected area are advised to monitor the situation and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders). In the event of an eruption, it is advisable to wear respiratory masks and to wear covering clothing to protect skin from abrasive ash.
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