Mayon remains unsafe for climbers as alert level 1 still hoisted
by MA Loterte
Legazpi City (25 June) -- Volcanologists here warned anew local and foreign tourists from climbing the slopes of Mayon Volcano due to the resurging rock fall events recorded in the past days as the crater also glowed intensely for several days now.
Alex Baloloy, resident volcanologist here of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said that aside from the intense crate glow, the institute's instruments detected tremors of at least up to five times a day on the volcano's edifice due to molten rocks that cascaded down the volcano's slopes, a dangerous condition for climbers who are confirmed to be trekking the volcano's upper slopes.
Phivolcs also advised various disaster councils not to allow their residents and tourists to trek the slopes of the volcano since sudden rock falls may occur endangering their lives.
"We would like to reiterate our warning to those climbers as well as tourist guides not to get near the upper slopes because falling rocks could just hit them at great force and velocity unexpectedly," Baloloy said.
Mayon's foothill residents confirmed that hundreds of local and foreign tourists are trekking the volcano after authorities removed the earlier set up checkpoints and lowered the cone-shaped mountain's five-scale alert level to the lowest 1.
Phivolcs reiterated the warning at least five months after Mayon's alert level was lowered to 1 in January, preceded by a month-long restiveness in December that forced over 10,000 families to take refuge into safer grounds.
Baloloy said the safest and nearest viewing sites of Mayon's glowing crater is at the Mayon Resthouse in Barangay Buang, Tabaco City.
Tourists continue to have a close watch of the old lava deposit in Barangay Mabinit in Legazpi City, and the new lava deposit in Barangay Padang in Legazpi CIty and Barangay Lidong in Sto. Domingo.
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Phivolcs further recommended that the public should not enter the six-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone and the seven-km Extended Danger Zone on the southeast of the volcano due to continuing threat from sudden explosions, rock falls from the upper slopes and pyroclastic flows due to sudden collapse of unstable lava deposits.
Active river channels and those perennially identified as lahar prone in the southern sector should also be avoided, especially during bad weather conditions or when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall. (PIA V) [top]