Getty Images/Charism Sayat

More than 34,000 people have already fled villages surrounding the Philippines’ most active volcano.

Travel + Leisure
January 16, 2018

Fears of a volcanic eruption from the Philippines’ Mount Mayon have prompted tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes.

More than 34,000 people have already fled villages surrounding the Philippines’ most active volcano, which sits in the Bicol Region of the country, according to the Associated Press.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Sunday raised the alert level for Mount Mayon to a level three, meaning the volcano has high levels of unrest and could fully erupt within days or weeks.

Mount Mayon has faced three steam explosions since Saturday, according to the Associated Press, with images showcasing the lava that has been seen spurting down its edges.

These explosions have already cause high amounts of ash to fall into the nearby villages, with officials warning residents and tourists to avoid anywhere in the danger zone that’s marked at about 3.7 to 4.3 miles around the volcano.

Renato Solidum, head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, told the AP scientists are still unsure whether the current conditions will lead the institute to raise alerts to a level four to mark an imminent explosion, which could result in mandatory evacuations for those still in their homes.

For this reason, officials are currently testing methods to make evacuation easier. These include creating temporary evacuation centers for the livestock of farmers in nearby villages, and creating temporary school sites.

Although Mount Mayon is a popular destination for climbers, the attraction can be dangerous, having erupted more than 50 times in the last 500 years, according to AP.

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