Bulusan Volcano erupted anew Sunday, spewing a huge column of ash into the sky and blanketing parts of Sorsogon still recovering from last week’s blast.
The phreatic eruption at 3:37 a.m. lasted 18 minutes, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), impairing road visibility and forcing airlines to cancel flights.
On June 5, Mount Bulusan sent a grey plume shooting up at least one kilometer and covered 10 villages with ash.
Residents of Juban town in Sorsogon, still reeling from last week’s eruption, were woken up Sunday by the volcano’s thundering.
“I thought it was just raining, but when I looked outside there was ash everywhere,” resident Antonio Habitan told AFP. “Our river was once clear but now it is ash-colored.”
“The ashfall is now quite scattered and is not just concentrated in one barangay,” said Sorsogon Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office public information officer Arian Aguallo.
No casualties were reported, but Phivolcs raised the alert level to one on the five-level system, indicating “low-level unrest.”
“We still can’t say that it is over. It’s still possible that this eruption could be followed by another one, that’s why we need to be careful with the Bulusan volcano,” Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum told dzBB.
Emergency workers were deployed to clean ash-laden roads and guide drivers struggling to see oncoming vehicles.
The Manila International Airport Authority recorded at least eight domestic flights that were canceled due to Bulusan’s activity.
The affected flights were Cebu Pacific (5J) 325/326, Manila-Legazpi-Manila; CebGo (DG) 6111/6112, Manila-Naga-Manila; and PAL Express (2P) 2923/2924 and 2P 2919/2920, Manila-Legazpi-Manila.
Juban’s local disaster office said 366 people were in emergency shelters, with most evacuated days before the eruption due to a series of volcanic earthquakes.
Phivolcs earlier warned that the increased seismic activity or number of volcanic quakes observed may indicate that a phreatic eruption could occur.
For the past 24 hours, 136 volcanic earthquakes caused by movements or eruptions of magma from the volcano were recorded while plumes reaching 150 meters high have also been observed.
Entry into the 4-kilometer radius permanent danger zone is strictly prohibited.
Bulusan volcano has been active in recent years, with a dozen similar eruptions recorded in 2016 and 2017. The Philippines is located in the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” and has over 20 active volcanoes. With AFP