LEGAZPI CITY: Mount Mayon is about to erupt, a government volcanologist said on Friday.
Dr. Ed Laguerta, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) resident volcanologist in Albay, told a media briefing that the eruption will be “big” and accompanied by pyroclastic flows.
Laguerta said one sign of an impending eruption is the swelling of the ground on the volcano’s northern and southern slopes.
The ground deformation has reached three millimeters in 10 days. “Fresh and deeper magma from the chamber is gradually ascending while the inflation is getting bigger but the volcano’s crater is choked up. This is very dangerous,” he explained.
Laguerta said the sulfuric dioxide emission from the crater was down to 300 metric tons per day during the past 24-hour observation period, from the 1,400 metric tons in the previous period.
He added that there would be a strong force from beneath the volcano because the magma was continually rising.
“This will cause a sudden eruption that could led to a big explosion,” Laguerta said.
There is also the possibility of rainwater seeping into the lava cavity that could cause a sudden phreatic explosion, he added.
Intermittent rains have been falling around Mayon.
The volcanologist said animals have disappeared from the volcano’s slopes because of the increase in temperature.
Mayon’s restiveness has sent 12,482 families or 56,125 persons living around the volcano fleeing to government-run temporary shelters.
Speaking at the same media briefing, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the provincial government has spent about P117.7 million a month for the evacuees.
“We need more than P300 million budget for three months to support the needs of the evacuees and for them to stay in temporarily shelters until after Phivolcs declares it safe for them [evacuees]to go back home,” he added.
Local governments have spent P63,392,000 to evacuate and shelter the Mayon residents and the national government has provided a P54.3-million counterpart fund.
The assistance came in the form of food supplies, medicine, hygiene kits and health services.
International aid agencies like the United Nations, USAID and the World Food Program have also donated tents, rice and other foodstuff for the evacuees.
With a report from PNA