Manila (dpa) – The Philippine military set up checkpoints and patrols at the edge of an exclusion zone around a restive volcano to keep evacuated residents from returning, officials said Thursday.
Nearly 32,000 residents have been moved from an expanded eight-kilometre danger zone around Mayon Volcano in Albay province, 330 kilometres south-east of Manila, amid warnings of an impending eruption, the regional disaster relief agency said.
“We want to prevent resident from returning to attend to their farmland, gather wood or hunt for animals,” said army commander Colonel Raul Farnacio about the precautionary measure.
Local authorities ordered the mandatory evacuation of nearly 52,000 residents after government scientists raised the alert at Mayon to level 3 on September 15, which means an eruption was possible within weeks.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said it has monitored an increasing number of tremors and rockfalls as well as a bright crater glow from the summit, indicating that “potentially eruptible magma” was moving up the crater.