Lava fountains from the Mount Mayon volcano spewing 500 metres into the sky, along with ash plumes that reached three to five kilometres away, have led to the evacuation of more than 61,200 people across 54 municipalities in Albay province. Flights were cancelled and schools closed in municipalities across Albay and Camarines Sur provinces, affecting a total of 71,373 people.
Residents of Daraga amid heavy ash falls released by Mount Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines (image: Gregorio B Dantes | Rex)
There were no known injuries, but the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) warned that exposure to falling ash may cause a number of health problems, especially respiratory illnesses such as nose and throat irritation, coughing, bronchitis and discomfort while breathing. The ash could also cause eye irritation and minor skin problems.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) declared a number four alert level and widened the danger zone to a radius of eight kilometres after several explosions and continued volcanic activity.