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Thousands more flee erupting Philippine volcano

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by: Agence France-Presse

Thousands more have fled an erupting volcano in the Philippines, relief workers said Wednesday, as foreign tourists arrived to watch the flaming lava and giant cauliflower clouds spurting from its crater.

More than 56,000 residents are now crammed in schools and other buildings two weeks after Mayon volcano began showing signs of unrest.

Volcanologists on Monday warned of a hazardous eruption within days and a no-go zone was extended from six kilometres (3.7 miles) of the crater to nine kilometres, forcing local officials to order further evacuations as ash rained down on communities.

At the shelters, people sleep on the floor and each shares a single toilet with 49 other people, the Philippine Red Cross said.

“Their numbers ballooned after the danger zone was expanded,” Rose Rivero, Red Cross administrator for the region, told AFP.

Mostly farmers and their families, the evacuees are surviving on food handouts from the government and charities, with the Red Cross pitching in with drinking water, counselling, and hygiene items, she added.
Thousands more have fled an erupting volcano in the Philippines, relief workers said Wednesday, as foreign tourists arrived to watch the flaming lava and giant cauliflower clouds spurting from its crater.

More than 56,000 residents are now crammed in schools and other buildings two weeks after Mayon volcano began showing signs of unrest.

Volcanologists on Monday warned of a hazardous eruption within days and a no-go zone was extended from six kilometres (3.7 miles) of the crater to nine kilometres, forcing local officials to order further evacuations as ash rained down on communities.

At the shelters, people sleep on the floor and each shares a single toilet with 49 other people, the Philippine Red Cross said.

“Their numbers ballooned after the danger zone was expanded,” Rose Rivero, Red Cross administrator for the region, told AFP.

Mostly farmers and their families, the evacuees are surviving on food handouts from the government and charities, with the Red Cross pitching in with drinking water, counselling, and hygiene items, she added.

The Philippines is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire” of islands that were formed by volcanic activity.

With 51 eruptions in the past four centuries, Mayon, a near-perfect cone located about 330 kilometres southeast of Manila, is considered the most volatile of the Philippines’ 22 active volcanoes.

Authorities have closed airports in the region, while periodic ash showers have made driving on some roads nearly impossible. Local governments have advised residents to wear facial masks and goggles.