Around 40,000 people fled their homes on Monday night and Tuesday morning as authorities warned of an imminent volcano eruption affecting several districts in the Philippines. Lava has been spilling from the volcano, Mount Mayon, for over a week. On Monday, a large explosion covered several towns with volcanic ash.

Mount Mayon

Mount Mayon Photo Credit: Tomas Tam/Wikipedia

In a vast explosion on Monday night, lava erupted from Mount Mayon, the Philippines’ most active volcano, launching molten rocks and volcanic ash towards nearby villages. No casualties were reported. The local authorities raised the emergency alert level to four on a scale of five as experts said a deadly eruption may occur within hours or days.

Volcanic ash reportedly fell in the country’s Albay and Camarines Sur provinces, causing low visibility and darkness as a result. More than 40,000 residents near the mountain fled their homes to evacuation shelters for fear of an imminent eruption.

Lava has been spilling out of Mount Mayon for nearly ten days. Schools in the region have been shut down and flights were canceled. The danger zone around the volcano was expanded to eight kilometers, Philippines officials told reporters on Monday.

The country is notorious for its volcanic activity and has at least 25 active volcanoes in various locations. In 1991, the Philippines experienced the second-largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, resulting in the death of over 800 people.