Mount Kanlaon Eruption: Alert Level Raised

MANILA – In an unexpected escalation of volcanic activity, Mount Kanlaon, located on the central island of Negros in the Philippines, has undergone an explosive eruption, leading authorities to raise the alert level on Monday. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that the eruption occurred shortly before 7pm local time (11am GMT), sending a massive plume of ash, gas, and rocks approximately 5 kilometers into the sky. This significant event lasted for a brief but intense six minutes, marking a dramatic shift in the volcano’s behavior.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has raised the alert level to two, indicating increasing volcanic unrest with potential for more explosive activity or ashfall.  Nearby residents have been asked to wear facemasks against the threat of volcanic gases and falling ash.

Local officials have initiated the evacuation of approximately 500 families from the areas closest to the volcano, prioritizing their safety against the dangers of pyroclastic density currents and heavy ashfall.

The situation remains fluid, with PHIVOLCS closely monitoring the volcano for further activity. The public is advised to stay informed through official channels and heed all warnings and instructions from local authorities. The international community stands in solidarity with the Philippines during this challenging time, ready to offer assistance as needed.

The eruption of Mount Kanlaon is a stark reminder of the dynamic and unpredictable nature of volcanic activity. The Philippines, being part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” is no stranger to seismic events, and the nation’s preparedness and response mechanisms are being put to the test. The immediate priority is the safety and well-being of those in the affected areas, with emergency services on high alert and ready to respond as needed. (zai)