(ORDO NEWS) — On Sunday, a volcano in the Philippine capital spewed ash and steam about a kilometer into the sky, scattering ash over nearby villages and alarming local residents, officials said.
After a 17-minute explosion on Mount Bulusan (in the province of Sorsogon), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alarm level, but clarified that there were no signs of an impending major eruption.
There were no reports of casualties, officials said. At this point, 14 people with four guides were walking along the trail on the 1565-meter volcano, but everyone reached the neighboring town safely.
On June 5, Mount Bulusan spewed ash and steam about a kilometer into the sky in a brief explosion, dispersing the ash in nearby villages and alarming residents, officials said.
Local resident Rika Tomale was hanging out laundry when ash fell on her coastal town of Juban near Bulusan. Two motorcycles slipped on the ash-covered road, but the drivers were not injured, she said. The woman was surprised by the sudden appearance of ash, because she did not hear how the volcano exploded.
Bulusan is one of the country’s most active volcanoes and has shown signs of erupting in recent years, periodically spewing ash and steam upwards.
“It is currently in an abnormal state,” the government’s Institute of Volcanology said and asked people to stay away from the 4-kilometer danger zone around the volcano.
Ashes fell on at least seven villages in and around Juban at the foot of Bulusan. Residents have been asked to stay at home and wear masks. Motorists have been advised to drive carefully.
Officials are assessing what is happening and considering whether residents, especially pregnant women, the elderly and children, should be evacuated.
Outside of the permanent danger zone, the institute has warned people, including those living on the vulnerable southeast side of the volcano, to be on the lookout for increased opportunities for sudden eruptions and mudslides during the rainy season.
Planes have been advised not to fly close to the volcano, which is about 600 kilometers southeast of Manila.
The Philippine archipelago, with about two dozen active volcanoes, is located in the “Ring of Fire” of the Pacific Ocean, where volcanic activity and earthquakes are common.
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