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Flight from Erupting volcano in- pipelines plans

A column of ash shoots up from the
Mayon volcano as it continues to
erupt, seen from the town of Daraga in
Albay province, south of Manila on
January 24, 2018. Thousands more
residents fled an erupting volcano in
the Philippines, relief workers said on
January 24, as foreign tourists flocked
to the area to watch spectacular
flaming lava and giant cauliflower
clouds spurting from its crater. / AFP
Philippine authorities who have declared a
no-go zone around an erupting volcano
said Thursday they will remove all holdouts,
by force if necessary, to avoid casualties
after tens of thousands of other residents
fled to safety.
There have been no deaths in the 10 days
since Mount Mayon began belching flaming
lava, superheated rocks and ash, causing
75,450 residents to flee surrounding farms
and communities, civil defence officials
However they said people have been
leaving the shelters in daytime to tend to
their farms and livestock inside the danger
zone that now extends to nine kilometres
(5.6 miles) from the crater.
Maria Evelyn Grollo, who runs a grade
school-turned shelter for more than 4,000
people on the outskirts of Legazpi, said
some are defying the city mayor’s order to
stay away from their farms on Mayon’s
lower slopes.
“In the mornings they go home, especially
the men. But in the evenings they are here,”
she said, adding they easily cross into the
danger zone on their motorbikes.
“They just rush back to check their houses
and their property,” Grollo told AFP.
Akim Berces, operations officer of the
regional civil defence office in Legazpi city,
told AFP the local authorities have sent
police patrols to guard the abandoned
farms and homes, so people should not go
There have been no reports of looting to
justify the evacuees’ actions, he added.
A number of residents with homes just
inside the declared danger zone were also
refusing to leave, Berces said.
“There are some people who don’t want to
leave but the local governments are forcing
evacuations,” he said.
“The security (officials) are already talking
about it, how they will ensure that it should
be a no-man’s land.”
Disaster tourism
Berces said the authorities wanted
residents in the vacated high-risk areas to
move their cattle, pigs, goats, and chickens
to a separate evacuation centre for
“There is a place to put them,” he added.
The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring
of Fire” of islands that were formed by
volcanic activity.
With 51 eruptions in the past four
centuries, Mayon, a near-perfect 2,460-
metre(8,070-foot) cone about 330
kilometres southeast of Manila, is the most
active of the country’s 22 volcanoes.
Authorities have closed airports in the
region, while periodic ash showers have
made driving on some roads nearly
impossible. Local governments have
advised residents to wear facial masks and
Mayon continued hurling red-hot lava, and
ash plumes into the sky in the past 24
hours, accompanied by hot ash, lava and
rocks rolling down its flanks, the state
volcanology office said.
Despite the danger, hundreds of tourists,
including a spattering of Westerners, are
flocking to Legazpi and nearby towns to
watch the spectacular eruption up close,
provincial tourism officer Dorothy Colle
told AFP.
“It’s a unique phenomenon. It attracts
visitors. It’s just that the numbers are not
that big because we were affected by the
closure of the airport, she said, shutting
down eight daily flights from Manila and
Cebu city.
Tourist arrivals in Albay province, which
includes Legazpi, surged 20 percent from a
year earlier in 2001 during the last major
eruption of Mayon, which Colle said is the
province’s main attraction.
She said industry officials are hoping the
latest eruption would generate a similar 20
percent jump from last year’s total Albay
tourist arrivals of 1.1 million.

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