MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Mayon Volcano is likely on 'soft eruption,' after authorities observed lava flow on the volcano's eastern side on Sunday, October 12.
Activity had appeared to quiet down but a fresh cascade – confirmed by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) – this time stretching further down the slopes, has prompted concerns that an eruption may soon take place.
In a Facebook post, Albay Governor Joey Salceda said local authorities conducted an aerial survey to check if lava was flowing.
Phivolcs director Renato Solidum confirmed over dzMM that the volcano was showing signs of renewed activity, with lava flow on its eastern side.
He explained that this was due to a new batch of magma reaching the crater of the volcano. While he confirmed that the flow of lava was indeed an eruption, he explained that it was not explosive.
However, he said the volcano remains on Alert Level 3, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is in Albay with defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman, health secretary Enrique Ona, and presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda to conduct pre-disaster inspections.
In a press briefing on radio dzRB, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Alexander Pama will join officials in monitoring the situation at evacuation centers.
NDRRMC also reported that a total of 12,931 families or 57,633 individuals in 40 barangays are affected by the activity of the volcano.
The affected residents are currently in 48 evacuation centers.
Coloma said that P88,773,524 in assistance funds have been allotted to the province of Albay.
The 2,460-metre (8,070-foot) Mayon, located about 330 kilometres (200 miles) southwest of Manila, has a long history of deadly eruptions.
Four foreign tourists and their local tour guide were killed when Mayon last erupted, in May 2013.
In 1814 more than 1,200 people were killed when lava flows buried the village of Cagsawa.
An explosion in August 2006 did not cause direct deaths, but 4 months later a typhoon unleashed an avalanche of volcanic mud from Mayon's slopes that killed 1,000 people. – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com