Rumbling volcano Mount Mayon forces residents into evacuation shelters

World Today

Concerns are growing in the Philippines over a possible major eruption by Mount Mayon. The volcano has already been spewing smoke, ash and lava, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate.

And as CGTN’s Barnaby Lo reports, those evacuees are not likely to return home anytime soon.

It’s a familiar sight, but residents of communities around Mayon, the Philippines’ most active volcano, say the orange glow will never be familiar enough to make them complacent.

“It still makes me nervous. I’m especially worried for my small grandchildren,” evacuee Merma Solano said. “The smell actually made my head hurt.”

On Saturday, state volcanologists warned a hazardous eruption was possible within just days or weeks. That warning has still not been lifted.

Volcanic ash that has settled on everything from riverbanks to homes, and within the six-kilometer permanent danger zone, the lava flowing down the volcanoes side can be clearly seen.

Although some residents go back to occasionally check on their homes, most of the houses are empty. Thousands have moved to public schools for safety.

Residents ride on the back of a truck as they are evacuated to a temporary shelter due to Mayon volcano’s eruption in Camalig town, Albay province, south of Manila on January 15, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / CHARISM SAYAT)

“We’re more afraid of getting sick, because the smell is really unbearable,” according to evacuee Lourdes Solano. “There’s no question: we have to evacuate.”

The question, of course, is until when.

“There are times when Mayon’s eruption goes on for three months,” according to Camalig vice-mayor Carlos Baldo. “But our funds are enough to sustain the needs of evacuees for only days or weeks.”

To that end, the national government has assured aid, especially as the provincial government has already declared a state of calamity.