More than 56,000 people in the area have already evacuated.
mayon volcano
Credit: Getty Images/Charism Sayat

A major eruption of the Philippinesmost active volcano is imminent, causing tens of thousands of residents to flee the area.

Officials from the Philippine Institute of Volcano and Seismology raised Mayon’s alert level to four – 'hazardous eruption imminent' – on Monday after an explosive eruption caused lava flows that have reached heights of close to 2,000 feet.

Authorities have also expanded the danger zone surrounding the Mayon volcano from six to eight kilometers as the most recent volcanic activity has also caused ash plumes that extend as high as three miles above the crater.

More than 56,000 people in the area have already evacuated to temporary shelters, according to the Associated Press, while soldiers and police officials are continuing to assist villagers to move from their homes in preparation of a dangerous eruption.

For this reason, local governor Al Francis C. Bichara announced that all private and public school classes will be suspended in the region while recommending that those who are in the area wear facemasks and stay indoors as much as possible.

More than 27,000 have already been evacuated from the area surrounding the volcano, while the U.S. State Department and Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have issued travel advisories alerting travelers to exercise extreme caution and to defer any non-essential travel plans in the area.

Civil aviation authorities are also advising that pilots avoid flying in areas close to the volcano’s summit to the danger that could arise from ash or a sudden eruption, which is why officials urge that those with flight plans regularly check in with their airline for the latest updates.

Airlines including Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have already canceled flights that were scheduled to fly this week due to the volcanic activity that's causing limited visibility across entire towns.