Volcano emergency authorities in the Philippines have authorised evacuation of thousands of people threatened by an eruption – by force if necessary.
The army launched an operation to get people out of their homes around the Philippines’ most active volcano, after the alert was raised to Level 4, which means ‘eruption imminent’.
Level 5 is as high as the warnings go, meaning an eruption is underway.
A “no-go zone” has been extended to 11 kms around the Mayon volcano. Fountains of lava are reported to be shooting out 200 metres into the air.
The Philippines lies on the “Ring of Fire” belt of volcanoes which encircle the Pacific Ocean. Mayon last erupted in 2006, but vulcanologists have recorded nearly 2,000 quakes in recent days. About 85 percent of the population around the volcano, nearly 50,000 people, have already been moved to temporary shelters.