More than 11,000 residents who were displaced due to eruption of the Philippines’ most active volcano have come back in spite of prolonged lava emission.
Residents of Legazpi City in Albay province, 330 kilometres south of Manila, were told it was safe to return because the activity on Mayon Volcano was restricted to what they termed ‘quiet lava effusion’.
“There’s actually no reason for them to evacuate but they were fearful when they saw (the lava flows from) Mayon Volcano,” said Miladee Azur, head of the city’s disaster risk management office.
Azur said the residents’ evacuation was voluntary because their homes were located away from the 7-kilometre extended danger zone.
“It was not a mandatory evacuation,” she said. “We just accommodated their willingness to evacuate because they couldn’t sleep at night.”
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the alert at Mayon remained at level 3 which means a hazardous eruption could be possible within weeks.
“The current activity can be described as continued lava eruption or non-explosive lava eruption,” said Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Over 24,000 residents were still staying at evacuation centres in seven towns and cities at the foot of Mayon, according to the national disaster relief agency.