MANILA – A senior geologist at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) said that they have observed lava flow from the slopes of Mayon Volcano indication of a major eruption.
“The release of lava (Sunday) means that magma is now at the upper slope as it already pushed the old lava outside the small opening at the right side of the lava dome. Mayon seems to be gearing up for a stronger eruption,” Phivolcs senior geologist Winchelle Sevilla said.
The lava flowed from Bunga Gulley facing the area of Legazpi-Daraga area.
According to Sevilla, they situated the survey instruments in Lidong, Sto. Domingo. The magma was formed on the northern side of the volcano.
Sevilla added that aside from the recorded 17 millimeters “inflation” on the crater, the bulging increased by more than a millimeter yesterday.
“Should the magma push prevail over the force of the blocking lava dome,” a “big explosion” is likely to follow, Sevilla said.
The bureau already recorded two volcanic earthquakes and 420 tons of sulfur dioxide emission in the past 24 hours.
“This means that the magma push is very slow due to its being viscous or sticky that its movement could hardly be detected by seismographs,” Sevilla said.
Meanwhile, as a relief to the 17,000 displaced families, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said that the local government will be giving half a sack of rice to each.
“This one-time aid is our recognition of their cooperation with the government in our effort to achieve zero casualty,” Salceda said.
The governor also said that they had already deployed Army soldiers to guard the entry points within the permanent danger zone.
“In the first place, they should no longer stay in these areas long declared as permanent danger zone,” he stressed
Despite the imminent threat, Salceda said that the situation is still well-managed. As a matter of fact, after 10 days, the 83 schools resumed classes after they were converted to evacuation centers.
“It’s a record in Philippine disaster history, with 90 percent school attendance, higher than those outside the camps,” he said.
Moreover, no crime has been committed ever since September 15 according to PNP Albay Provincial Office’s report. In terms of health, there are also lower morbidity, said Salceda.
“Both morbidity and mortality (non-disaster related) rates among the evacuees were even lower than the general population outside the camps,” he said.