International News

Thousands more flee erupting Philippine volcano

Tens of thousands more people have fled an erupting volcano in the Philippines, relief workers said Wednesday, as foreign tourists arrived to watch the flaming lava and giant clouds spurting from its crater.
More than 70,000 residents are now crammed in schools and other buildings, a figure that has nearly doubled over the past three days, two weeks after Mayon volcano began showing signs of activity.
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 even those beyond it to flee homes being pounded by a rain of ash.
“They were not in the danger zone but they are scared,” Cedric Daep, the head of the civil defence office of Albay province, adding about 360,000 people, or a third of the province´s one million residents have been breathing in volcanic ash.
At some shelters, evacuees are sleeping on the floor, with as many as 50 people sharing a toilet. Other shelters have no toilets at all, relief.
“They are saying that the local government will provide (portable toilets) but until now, there are still” none, said Maria Evelyn Grollo, who runs a school-turned-shelter for more than 4,000 people on Legazpi city´s outskirts.
Rose Rivero, the local Red Cross administrator, said the evacuees, mostly farmers and their families, are surviving on food handouts from the government and charities, with her aid group pitching in with drinking water, counselling, and hygiene items.