LEGAZPI CITY — At least three major gullies in the southeast quadrant of Mayon Volcano were now filled with lava flows that had reached areas five kilometers away from the crater, Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) said.
The three major gullies -Bonga and Mabinit in Legazpi City and Basud in Sto. Domingo – are now full of lava that has advanced just one kilometer away from the no-man’s land or the six-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).
After the PDZ, there is a 7 to 8-km buffer zone to avoid casualties.
Daep said they were expecting more volcanic debris to be ejected by the restive volcano in the coming days if its present behavior would continue.
“If the volcano’s behavior being exhibited today will not change then we expect more than two months’ stay of the evacuees in the evacuation centers or until the Alert Level 4 remains,” he said.
According to Daep, of the 13 major gullies around the volcano, the southeast quadrant and southwest portion are now almost filled with volcanic deposits as the ejection of molten materials continues without let up since January 13.
Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist in Bicol, said the volcano had ejected at least 53 million cubic meters of volcanic materials and they were expecting 40 to 50 million cubic meters more to be released by Mayon.
Meanwhile, the restiveness of Mt. Mayon for almost a month now has been drawing more tourists, many of them from different countries from across the globe who want to witness the volcano spewing ash and molten debris.
Phil Garratt from New Zealand, along with his friends Peter Weston, Geoff Ngataierua and Tash Weston, flew into Albay to see Mayon while it’s erupting.
He said that he wanted to personally see the erupting volcano as he’s not satisfied with the photographs and footage showed on television.
“I flew here in Albay just to see the eruption stage of Mayon volcano personally because it’s perfectly beautiful in photographs and in a television report. Indeed, Mayon is completely incredible,” Garratt said.
From the airport, Phil and his pals headed directly to Cagsawa ruins – the historical landmark of this town to watch the fiery icon of Bicolandia while unleashing her fury.
Tourists are mesmerized by the lava flowing down the conical volcano.
But while tourists are enjoying the beauty of Mayon, at least 18,284 families or 70,308 persons are still sheltered in various evacuation camps of the three cities and six towns in Albay affected by the eruption.
Daep said: “We will totally decamp the evacuees once Alert Level 2 is declared by Phivolcs”. Rhaydz Barcia/PNA-northboundasia.com