Albay under state of calamity due to Mayon Volcano eruption

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Legazpi, Albay (CNN Philippines, January 16) - The province of Albay is now under a state of calamity as Mount Mayon threatens a hazardous eruption.

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara asked the provincial board on Monday to declare a state of calamity in the province south of Manila. The board approved the request on Tuesday.

A state of calamity will allow the local government to fully mobilize all agencies and resources to respond to emergencies.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Tuesday said the volcano, which is on Alert Level 3, is in a relatively high level of unrest as magma is at the crater and hazardous eruption is possible within days or weeks. Alert level 5 is the highest warning which means a hazardous eruption is taking place.

At least nine volcanic earthquakes and 75 lava collapses were recorded on Tuesday, resulting in rockfall. Plumes of ash as high as two kilometers eventually fell on barangays in Camalig, Guinobatan, and Polangui.

Authorities also warned residents, including those living outside the 7-kilometer danger zone, that mudflow or lahar is possible.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Albay head Ed Laguerta cited the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, where the mudflow reached about 30 kilometers.

"Worst case scenario kung hindi ka handa, matatabunan ka doon (if you're not ready, you'll be buried there). Like what happened in 2006 here," Laguerta said.

At the Provincial Disaster Risk Reducation and Management Center  meeting, Bichara said water and sanitation facilities in evacuation centers are in a state of disrepair.

Disaster officials said as of 5 p.m., there are more than 34,000 evacuees from 25 affected barangays in the municipalities and cities of Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Daraga, Tabaco City, and Malilipot.

People in 18 evacuation centers will initially be given three kilograms of rice per family.

Bichara said the number of evacuees is rising and their needs are multiplying as well.

5 barangays evacuated

In the provincial capital Legazpi City, Mayor Noel Rosal ordered on Monday a preemptive evacuation in five barangays inside the seven-kilometer danger zone south of Mayon.

These barangays are Mabinig, Bonga, Matanag, Buyoan and Padang.

The Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology recommended the wider danger zone on Sunday as it raised Alert Level 3, which means an "increased tendency toward eruption."

Mayon has been spewing ash since late Saturday afternoon.

CNN Philippines' Makoi Popioco, stringer Rosas Olarte contributed to this report.