50,000 Evacuate Because of Active Volcano In Philippines

December 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
In the Philippines nearly 50,000 people have been told to evacuate because a major volcano has rumbled to life. Deep pitched blasts from the Philippines' most active volcano are heard throughout town.

Volcanologists leave the alert level lingering at the 2nd highest level -- analyzing Mayon's activity and warning residents to clear out.

"Mayon's eruptions usually have pyroclastic flows and if you will be within the strength of the pyroclastic flow, then definitely you will be killed," said Eduardo Laguerta, Resident Volcanologist, Mayon Volcano Observatory.

The Philippine Army has forced evacuations - transferring families and all of the belongings they are able to carry with them.

The Philippines lies on the pacific rim of fire, an area lined with volcanoes and prone to earthquakes.

Residents live on the very land destroyed from past eruptions - many of them feel they have no choice but to stay.

9-year-old Jomari Mirabete has memorized the talks of tour guides - he walked through the remains of Mayon's most destructive eruption.

"More than 1,200 people died on February 1, 1814," said Jomari Mirabete, Philippines.

"That is Mayon. From here to the foot of Mayon is 10 km, 16 km from the danger zone, and the height of Mayon is 8,189 feet above sea level," said Mirabete.

When asked if he was scared that Mayon may erupt, Mirabete replied, "Yes."

He said the volcano wiped out people's livelihood - in some cases destroying the land for decades.

"The people did not catch fish because the volcanic ash from Mayon was going here and the fish was died," said Mirabete.

In town in the evacuation centers - in gymnasiums and schools - classrooms are now bedrooms and people find ways to make the most of their time; many anxiously anticipating the next stage of Mayon.


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