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Last Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
In pictures: Philippines volcano

Soldiers keep watch at the foot of the volcano

Officials in the Philippines have ordered the evacuation of about 20,000 people living near the Mayon volcano, fearing an imminent eruption.

The volcano emits a column of stream and ash on 7 August

Officials made the decision to raise the alert level after the volcano was rocked by six blasts and then emitted a fountain of lava.

Police seen dwarfed by a huge pile of smouldering lava

Mount Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines, has been rumbling for several months and started to send out lava in July.

A Philippine soldier carrying a chicken in his backpack looks up at the volcano

The army has sent trucks to take villagers living within 8km (five miles) of the crater to evacuation centres.

Girls on the way to school in Daraga, near the volcano

Officials say more people could be ordered out if volcanic activity increases, with 50,000 people displaced in the event of a major eruption

Two boys sit metres from the lava flow

But some residents were said to be reluctant to evacuate, with farmers unwilling to leave their land.

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