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Hundreds in emergency shelters after Philippine volcano erupts

Kanlaon Volcano eruption philippine
Photo courtesy of Ethan Asentista-Khoo

Hundreds of people sheltered in evacuation centres on Tuesday after a volcano erupted in the central Philippines.

Mount Kanlaon on Negros island exploded for six minutes on Monday night, sending a plume of ash, rocks and gases five kilometres (three miles) into the sky.

The state volcanology agency raised the alert level for the volcano from one to two on a scale of zero to five, warning more explosive eruptions were possible.

At least 2,800 people have moved into emergency centres, according to official figures, due to falling ash, gases and the threat of lahars from the volcano.

Lahars are mammoth flows of volcanic debris deposited on the volcano’s slopes and unleashed by heavy rain. They can bury villages.

Canlaon city, in Negros Oriental province, ordered people living next to rivers downstream of the volcano to leave their homes and said non-essential businesses should shut.

Multiple flights to and from Bacolod, the capital of Negros Occidental province and the nearest major airport to the volcano, were cancelled.

“The smoke has dissipated already,” Robert Araneta of the Negros Occidental provincial disaster agency told AFP.

“We’re not seeing any threatening activities from the volcano. Some municipalities can still smell the sulphur.”

Photos and videos posted on Facebook and verified by AFP showed a dusting of ash on roads and buildings.

The Philippines is located in the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” that hosts more than half of the world’s volcanoes.

Kanlaon is one of 24 active volcanoes in the archipelago nation.

Heavy ashfalls can collapse roofs of houses and gum up jet engines.

The most powerful volcanic explosion in the Philippines in recent years was the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Manila, which killed more than 800 people.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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