The Philippine authorities have ordered the evacuation of about 20,000 people living near a volcano, saying an eruption could take place soon.Of course, there are some folks who cannot leave the area, for whatever reason. I just hope not too many people are affected by this, because the poverty in the area will ensure that they never will recover.
The alert was raised to four - the second highest level - following increased activity at Mount Mayon, in the centre of the country.
It began abnormal activity in February, and started emitting lava in mid-July.
Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines, having erupted about 50 times in the past 400 years.
People living in the region watched with alarm early on Monday, as five successive volcanic blasts happened within 40 minutes.
By mid-morning, Mayon's peak was covered in a dark cloud of volcanic material rising high above the crater.
"We deem it necessary to raise the alert level to four," Philippine volcanology and seismology director Renato Solidum told Reuters news agency.
This means that an eruption could happen within days. Level five represents an ongoing eruption.
Aug 6, 2006
At least the evacuations have already begun: