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The BBC's Jonathan Head
"Mayon: a fickle friend"
 real 28k

Monday, 28 February, 2000, 13:02 GMT
Volcano eruptions warning
Ash is thrown 7km into the sky
Ash and rock from the Philippines' Mayon volcano is being fired several miles into the air as scientists warn that a bigger eruption could be on the way.

Almost 50,000 people are sheltering in makeshift camps after fleeing their homes.

Filipino authorities have appealed for some to return home. They say only those who live within 6km of Mayon - about 32,000 people - should stay in the camps.

Evacuation centres
Evacuation centres are crowded
Some officials have suggested that many of the extra people in the evacuation centres were actually there hoping for free meals.

No casualties have been reported in the current wave of eruptions which began five days ago and is expected to last for several weeks.

Two eruptions on Monday threw volcanic rock and ash 7km (4.3 miles) into the air.

Further activity

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said there were strong indications that the volcano will remain active over the next few weeks.

Ernesto Corpuz, head of the institute's eruption prediction division, said: "This is not yet the big one."

Mayon volcano
Mayon lights up the night sky
The volcano, 330km (190 miles) southeast of Manila, last erupted in 1993, killing more than 70 villagers. It killed 1,200 people in its deadliest eruption in 1814.

Mount Mayon is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, erupting on average once every 10 years.

Cedric Daep, who is in charge of the relief operation, said many of the evacuees were from outside the designated 6km evacuation zone.

There are about 48,000 people in the evacuation centres compared with 32,000 who actually live in the evacuation area.

Mr Daep said: "We are telling them to go back to their villages because life in an evacuation centre can be very inconvenient and diseases can break out."

He warned that if food for the evacuation centres ran low then priority would be given to those whose homes were inside the evacuation zone.

Most of the evacuees are being housed in schools in towns around the volcano.

Health Secretary Alberto Romualdez told radio station DZRH in Manila: "We have received reports that some are just flocking to the evacuation centres to receive some relief goods."
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24 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Thousands flee volcano
25 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Mount Mayon erupts
30 Nov 98 |  World
The Earth's Ring of Fire
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