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Sunday, 24 June, 2001, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
Mass evacuation at Philippine volcano
Mount Mayon volcano in central Philippines on Sunday
Mayon has shown signs of restiveness for months
Thousands of people have been fleeing the Mount Mayon volcano in the central Philippines after the authorities warned that a violent eruption was imminent.


I left because it was making strong noises - the lava flow was getting strong

Local resident Lorna Azona
The volcano has been erupting gently for some days, with lava steadily spouting out of the crater, huge red hot boulders have been rolling down the flanks of the mountain, and columns of ash have been ejected hundreds of metres into the air.

Now scientists have warned that there could be a very explosive and hazardous eruption any time in the next few days.

Troops and police have been evacuating the danger zone around the volcano and making sure that the thousands of people who live or work there do not return.

A fountain of lava over Mount Mayon on Sunday
The volcano produces an 800 metre fountain of lava and gas
"I left because it was making strong noises," Lorna Azona, one of hundreds of villagers gathered at an evacuation centre in Legazpi, told reporters.

"The lava flow was getting strong."

Mount Mayon has been showing signs of restiveness for months now.

The volcano is one of the most active in the Philippines. The most recent eruption was only in 2000.

BBC correspondent John MacLean says that the precautions taken that year by the authorities ensured that nobody was killed, in spite of the violence of that eruption - which is a remarkable achievement by local standards.

He says the authorities were so confident of their ability to manage the effects of the eruption, that they even tried to promote it as a tourist attraction.

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See also:

05 Jul 99 | Asia-Pacific
Philippines volcano eruption warning
05 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
The Earth's Ring of Fire
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