Mayon in 'state of unrest,' alert level raised

Posted at 07/10/2009 10:09 AM | Updated as of 07/12/2009 5:07 PM

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Friday said Mayon Volcano is already in a state of unrest, which may lead to ash explosions and "hazardous magmatic eruption."

The Phivolcs said in its 8 a.m. bulletin on Friday that it raised Alert Level 2 (moderate unrest) over Mayon Volcano because of an increase in the number of low frequency volcanic earthquakes, which indicates the movement of magma beneath the volcano edifice at shallow depth.

It added that the "glow at the summit crater has intensified" and has become visible without the aid of telescopes. It said the volcano's steam emission remains at moderate level.

"Phivolcs is now raising the alert level status of Mayon Volcano from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2," the agency said. "This alert condition signifies a state of unrest which could lead to ash explosions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruption."

The Phivolcs advised local government authorities to keep residents seven kilometers away from the volcano. It added that lahar prone river channels in the southeast portion of the volcano should also be off-limits to residents.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, meanwhile, ordered the provincial government's public safety and management unit to call for an emergency meeting with officials of the disaster coordinating councils, including local officials and police units, to review contingency plans for possible mass evacuation of residents living near and around the volcano.

Salceda also advised the all disaster emergency units to check communication and evacuation equipment. With a report from Rose Olarte Orbita, ABS-CBN Bicol