12/15/2009, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Philippines, 50 thousand people evacuated from the path of Mayon volcano

Overnight explosions and lava spills from the mouth of the volcano. Its eruption is expected over the next few days. Approximately 10 thousand displaced families, housed in schools and institutions of the province of Albay. The situation could worsen in the coming days.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Philippine authorities have begun the evacuation of about 50 thousand people for the possible eruption of Mayon volcano, expected in the next few days. Experts raised the alert level overnight after a series of explosions and lava spills from the mouth of the crater.  

The Mayon volcano is located in the central region of the country, it has a conical shape and a maximum height of 2460 meters. Cedric Daep, head of Civil Protection of the province of Albay, says "we began the evacuation of about 10 thousand families” living in a radius " of 6 to 8 km" from the summit.

The displaced are being housed in shelters set up in the area. Schools, given over to accommodation and shelter, will remain closed indefinitely. Jukes Nunez, one of the coordinators of emergency crews, says: "there are only 10 days to Christmas" but if "the activity of Mayon volcano does not stop, we can not let people return to their homes."  

In the last two weeks the level of the magma has risen steadily and started to pour from the mouth of the crater. "The situation could worsen in the coming days," adds Renato Solidum, head of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Philippines.

The last eruption of the Mayon volcano was in 2006, causing approximately 30 thousand homeless. Recently, a typhoon raised whole mudflows that buried several villages in the area, leaving more than 1000 victims.  

The worst incident occurred in 1814. A violent eruption killed more than 1,200 people and buried an entire town under mud. In 1993, another spill caused the deaths of 79 people.  

The Philippines lies along the "Ring of Fire", a volcanic belt that crosses the Pacific Ocean and is characterized by intense volcanic and seismic activity.

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