Over 56K flee as Philippine volcano begins to erupt

Updated January 23, 2018 - 10:43 pm

LEGAZPI, Philippines — The Philippines’ most active volcano spewed fountains of red-hot lava and massive ash plumes anew Tuesday in a dazzling but increasingly dangerous eruption that has sent more than 56,000 villagers fleeing to evacuation centers.

Lava fountains gushed up 2,300 feet above Mount Mayon’s crater and ash plumes rose up to 1.9 miles Monday night. At least three major blasts followed Tuesday, including an explosion at nightfall that was capped by one of the most massive lava displays since the volcano started acting up more than a week ago, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

“We couldn’t sleep last night because of the loud rumblings. It sounded like an airplane that’s about to land,” Quintin Velardo, a 59-year-old farmer, told The Associated Press at an evacuation center in Legazpi city where he took his wife, children and grandchildren on Tuesday.

Despite the danger, he said he needed to return to his village, about 5 miles from the erupting volcano, to take his cow and water buffalo to safety. A few minutes later, the volcano belched a massive column of grayish ash that punched through white clouds into the blue sky.

“There it goes again,” Velardo said, his family huddled near him.

Authorities warned a violent eruption may occur in hours or days, characterized by more rumblings and pyroclastic flows — superheated gas and volcanic debris that race down the slopes at high speeds, vaporizing everything in their path.

After Monday’s explosion, officials raised Mayon’s alert level to four on a scale of five, and the danger zone was expanded to 5 miles from the crater, requiring thousands more residents to be evacuated, including at least 12,000 who returned to their homes last week as Mayon’s rumblings temporarily eased and then scrambled back to the emergency shelters this week.

At least 56,217 people were taking shelter in 46 evacuation camps Tuesday and army troops and police were helping move more villagers from their homes, officials said.

Authorities struggled to prevent villagers from sneaking back to check on their homes and farms and to watch a popular cockfight in Albay’s Santo Domingo town despite the risks and police patrols and checkpoints, said Cedric Daep, a provincial disaster response official.

In a sign of desperation, Daep told a news conference that he has recommended electricity and water supplies be cut in communities within the no-go zones to discourage residents from returning.

“If pyroclastic flows hit people, there is no chance for life,” Daep said. “Let us not violate the natural law, avoid the prohibited zone, because if you violate, the punishment is the death penalty.”

The daytime eruptions have plunged nearby villages into darkness and sent lava, rocks and debris cascading down Mayon’s slopes toward the no-entry danger zone. There have been no reports of deaths or injuries. Airplanes have been ordered to stay away from the crater and ash-laden winds, and several domestic flights have been canceled.

Volcanic ash fell Monday in more than a dozen towns in coconut-growing Albay and nearby Camarines Sur province, with visibility heavily obscured in a few towns because of the thick gray ash, Jukes Nunez, another Albay provincial disaster response officer, said by telephone.


 

“It was like night time at noon, there was zero visibility in some areas because the ash fall was so thick,” Nunez said.

More than 30,000 ash masks and about 5,000 sacks of rice, along with medicine, water and other supplies, were being sent to evacuation centers, Office of Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot said late Monday.

Food packs, water, medicine and other relief goods remain adequate but may run out by mid-February if the eruption continues and new supplies fail to come on time, officials said.

With its near-perfect cone, Mayon has long been popular with climbers and tourists but has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes violently. The 8,070-foot volcano has generated tourism revenues and jobs in Albay, about 210 miles southeast of Manila.

In 2013, an ash eruption killed five climbers who had ventured near the summit despite warnings. Its most destructive eruption, in 1814, killed more than 1,200 people and buried the town of Cagsawa in volcanic mud. The belfry of Cagsawa’s stone church still juts from the ground in an eerie reminder of Mayon’s fury.

Since childhood, Velardo, the farmer, said he has gambled his and his family’s lives in Mayon’s shadow but that he and thousands of other landless farmers have no place else to go. “I tell my grandchildren to study hard so they can live elsewhere without a volcano to keep an eye on all your life.”

The Philippines, which has about 22 active volcanoes, lies in the “Ring of Fire,” a line of seismic faults surrounding the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the northern Philippines exploded in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing about 800 people, covering entire towns and cities in ash and partly prompting the U.S. government to abandon its vast air and naval bases on the main northern Luzon island.

Associated Press journalists Joeal Calupitan in Legazpi and Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Las Vegas shooting survivor has surprise reunion
Oct. 1 mass shooting survivors Taylor Stovall and Parker Gabel meet for the first time since Gabel helped the injured Stovall to an ambulance the night of the shooting. Stovall, then 17, was shot in the arm. They met Friday at the Tropicana.
Hawaii volcano presser
Talmadge Magno of Hawaii Civil Defense gives an update on the Kilauea volcano
Same-Sex Weddings on the Rise in Las Vegas
Allie and Tara Shima finally tied the knot. They've been together for five years and have both been married before. This time, they wanted something simple, quick and cheap, but it still had to feel special. The couple chose Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center begins building in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin kicked off the demolition of buildings where the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center will be built. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
"Yanny" or "Laurel" hearing test has gone viral
'Yanny' or 'Laurel?' This Hearing Test Has Gone Viral This hearing test has gone viral on social media with some hearing "Yanny" while others swear hearing "Laurel." The voice is actually saying "Laurel," but the pitch was changed, causing some to hear "Yanny."
LVMPD Briefs on Year's Sixth Officer-Involved Shooting
Las Vegas police have identified the officer who shot a shovel-wielding woman on Saturday as 23-year-old Ondre Wills.
Police release body camera footage of shovel-wielding woman
Las Vegas police identified the woman they said threatened neighbors with a skillet Saturday night. Officer Ondre Wills, 23, shot at Sommer Richards, 34, multiple times on Big Sur Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. Police responded to the area after receiving reports that the woman was armed with a shovel. Police said the woman chased neighbors and a security guard. Wills got between Richards and the others and repeatedly told her to drop the shovel. The woman instead turned and moved toward a person who was standing nearby before the officer fired shots. Police said she bit another officer as he attempted to render aid. Richards remains in serious but stable condition.
College of Southern Nevada Graduates 2017-18 Class
The College of Southern Nevada's graduation ceremony was held at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday. The 2017-18 class was the institution's largest in history. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro looking for suspect in bank robbery.
On Jan. 22, a man robbed a bank in the 8700 block of West Sahara Avenue.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee at opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at opening ceremony of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, speaks about the violence in Gaza. (Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada
The Supreme Court has overturned a federal ban on sports gambling. States other than Nevada will be allowed to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and race tracks. Justice Samuel Alito said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “each State is free to act on its own.” The vote was 6-3. One research firm estimates that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years.
Westcare Clinic Crucial to Las Vegan's Addiction Recovery
Christian Hunt, 21, was sent to Westcare in September after he ended up on drugs and in the hospital. If it weren't for the nonprofit's Community Triage Center, Hunt said he would still be using drugs. Instead, he's been sober for six months, and stopped using methamphetamines seven months ago. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foundation Provides Full Rides for Clark County Students
Somewhere along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, a group of students from Sin City are pursuing a higher education. Feature on the 38 Clark County students that the Rogers Foundation has given full rides to for Kentucky Wesleyan College. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Flames engulf house in Henderson
Clark County firefighters battled a house fire early Friday morning in Henderson. The house, located near Volunteer Boulevard and Executive Airport Drive, was fully engulfed in flames about 2 a.m. Shifting winds sent massive plumes of smoke across the southern Las Vegas Valley sky. As of 3 a.m. , the cause of the fire was not known and no injuries were reported.
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time Georgina Chapman was profiled for 'Vogue’s' June issue, speaking on her estranged husband for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in October. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, also said she has been seeing a therapist and that has helped her move forward. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Read the full profile on Chapman in Vogue’s June issue or online at Vogue.com.
Bark-Andre Furry the dog is a Vegas Golden Knights hockey fan
The furriest fan of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights is growing into a social media sensation. Bark-Andre Furry the Jack Russell terrier has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect Sought In Robbery Attempt
Attorney Gloria Allred on case against Benjamin Sparks
Attorney Gloria Allred is representing the victim in a "sex slave" case against GOP political consultant Benjamin Sparks.
2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards winners
Some winners of the 2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards receive their awards.
Weather Balloon Collects Key Data
Meteorologist Chelsea Kryston discusses the Las Vegas National Weather Service's balloon carrying a radiosonde that collects temperature, humidity and pressure readings.
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark And it will have done so faster than any other film in history. The Anthony and Joe Russo directed film has only been in theaters for eight days since its Apr. 27 release, and it’s already raked in $905.1 million at the worldwide box office, including $338.4 million in North America. It will reach the milestone faster than ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ which took 12 days to cross over the $1 billion threshold. ‘Infinity War’ is the 34th film to cross $1 billion at the global box office, not accounting for inflation.
Henderson Residents Fighting Their HOA
Sun City Anthem residents Tim Stebbins and Bob Frank were arrested by the Henderson Police Department for filing a false report of a crime after they claimed their HOA was hiding surplus assessments in a secret slush fund. Nearly a decade later, Frank is still trying to clear his name. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Professor Retiring After 50 Years
Professor Bernard Malamud reflects on his 50 years teaching economics at UNLV and what it's been like watching to school and the city grow.
Donald Trump recognizes Jon Ponder of Hope for Prisoners
Former bank robber Jon Ponder, now CEO of Hope for Prisoners, is recognized by President Donald Trump at the White House Rose Garden. Debra J. Saunders/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Motorcyclist suffers severe head injury
A crash early Friday morning has left a motorcyclist hospitalized with a serious head injury, according to Las Vegas police. The crash occurred in the southwest valley at Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway, and was reported around 1:30 a.m. Police are investigating and one lane of the eastbound 215 offramp has been shut down.
Woman stabbed in the stomach
Las Vegas police are looking for the suspect who stabbed a woman in the stomach during a street robbery Friday morning in the central valley. The 37-year-old woman walked into the 7-Eleven at 531 E. Sahara Ave., around 1:30 a.m. with a wound to her abdomen, according to police. She was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive her wound. The stabber remains at-large.
Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize Eighteen House members sent a letter to the Nobel Committee in Norway, recommending President Donald Trump for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The letter was signed by Rep. Luke Messer and other GOP members, according to the New York Post. Letter to Nobel Committee This week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trump deserved the nomination, as well, for his efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons. Trump is set to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un soon.
Bodycam video: Las Vegas police breach gunman’s door during Oct. 1 shooting
Las Vegas police released body camera footage that depicts the moment officers breached Oct. 1 gunman Stephen Paddock’s Mandalay Bay suite.
McCaw School of Mines welcomes its 100,000th visitor
The McCaw School of Mines simulated underground mine attraction has been welcoming field trips and other visitors since 1996. On April 30, they welcomed the 100,000th visitor. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Academy learns to Stop the Bleed
Teachers, faculty and staff at Las Vegas Academy and other schools in the Clark County School District are undergoing "Stop the Bleed" training. Participants learn to apply a tourniquet, pack a wound and apply pressure to stop bleeding. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Nation and World Video
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like