Kanlaon Volcano erupts, Alert Level raised as authorities advise caution

Kanlaon Volcano, located on Negros Island in the central Philippines, erupted on Monday, June 3, 2024, at 6:50PM local time. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) confirmed the eruption as a phreatic, or steam-driven, event, and raised the alert level for the volcano from 1 to 2.

Kanlaon Volcano erupts, Alert Level raised as authorities advise caution | CebuFinest
Canlaon City orders evacuation after eruption of Mount Kanlaon [Photo credit: Ethan Asentista-Khoo; ABS-CBN News]

Negros Island’s Kanlaon Volcano erupts, PHIVOLCS raises Alert Level

The eruption, which lasted for approximately six minutes, sent a volcanic plume 5,000 meters high into the atmosphere. PHIVOLCS reported ashfall and a strong sulfurous odor on the western slopes of the volcano. The agency warned of the possibility of further, potentially hazardous, eruptions, including those involving magma.

Increased Activity Preceded Eruption

The eruption followed a period of heightened volcanic activity. In the month leading up to the event, PHIVOLCS had documented an increase in earthquake activity and volcanic gas emissions from Kanlaon. This abnormal activity had prompted concerns from scientists and raised the alert level.

Evacuations Ordered and Flights Cancelled

Following the eruption, local authorities in Negros Occidental province immediately ordered the evacuation of residents living within the four-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) surrounding the volcano. Three towns on Negros Island also began evacuations as a precautionary measure. The Negros Occidental provincial government declared a state of calamity to expedite disaster relief efforts.

Air travel was also disrupted, with several flights being cancelled due to ashfall concerns.

Kanlaon Volcano erupts
Kanlaon Volcano erupts [Photo credit: Ronnie Nicor; SUNSTAR Bacolod]

PHIVOLCS Issues Warnings and Recommendations

PHIVOLCS continues to monitor Kanlaon closely. In their latest advisories, they urge residents to remain vigilant and prepared for further volcanic activity. The agency recommends the following:

  • Strictly avoid entering the PDZ.
  • Be prepared for possible ashfall by keeping a dust mask or damp cloth handy to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Stay informed by monitoring official pronouncements from PHIVOLCS and local authorities.
  • Heed evacuation orders if issued.

Uncertainties Remain

While the initial eruption appears to have subsided, experts warn that the situation remains fluid. Scientists are unsure whether the volcano will transition to a more sustained eruptive phase or settle back into a period of relative calm. PHIVOLCS is maintaining a close watch on Kanlaon and will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Impact on Local Communities

The eruption of Kanlaon has caused significant disruption to the lives of residents in nearby communities. Evacuations have displaced thousands of people, and the ashfall has raised concerns about damage to crops and livestock. The local government is working to provide assistance to those affected, but the full extent of the impact is still being assessed.

Cebu City - Mount Kanlaon on Google Maps | CebuFinest
Cebu City – Mount Kanlaon on Google Maps

Based on available information, the recent eruption of Kanlaon Volcano is unlikely to directly affect Cebu City in a major way. Here’s why:

  • Distance: Cebu City is located on Cebu Island, which is separate from Negros Island where Kanlaon Volcano is situated. The distance between them is significant, reducing the impact of events like ashfall.
  • Wind Direction: Prevailing winds typically blow from east to west in the Philippines. This means ash plumes from Kanlaon are more likely to drift towards areas east of Negros Island, not Cebu City.
  • Eruption Type: The initial eruption appears to be a phreatic event, which generally produces less ash compared to a magmatic eruption.

Local governments in western Cebu, which faces Negros Island, are on alert and have advised residents to stay vigilant as well. However, there are still ways Cebu City could be indirectly affected:

  • Airport Disruptions: Depending on the severity and direction of ash plumes, air travel to and from Cebu City could be impacted. Flight cancellations or delays are a possibility.
  • Public Concern: The eruption of a nearby volcano can naturally cause anxiety and concern among residents, even in areas not directly affected. Staying informed through official channels like PHIVOLCS advisories can help alleviate unnecessary worry.

Monitor updates from PHIVOLCS for any changes in the situation or advisories related to ashfall. If you have any respiratory problems, consult with a doctor about potential precautions in case of ashfall.

ALSO READ: Be Prepared For An Emergency: Get A Survival Kit

Overall, the main impacts of Kanlaon’s eruption are expected to be felt in Negros Island, particularly in areas closer to the volcano. The risk of direct impact on Cebu City is considered low.

While the immediate threat may have lessened, the potential for further activity remains. The coming days and weeks will be crucial in determining the long-term course of events at Kanlaon. In the meantime, residents in the affected areas are urged to remain vigilant and follow the guidance of authorities.

For more updates on Volcanic Bulletin and Kanlaon Advisories, visit the DOST-PHIVOLCS official website.

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