Octogenarian dies after evacuation to safety from Philippine volcano

Manila   –       An elderly man died in the Philippines after being evacuated from his home as the country’s most active volcano ejected fiery lava, police said on Tuesday.

More than 21,000 residents have been forced to flee their homes at the foot of Mayon Volcano in Albay province, 330 kilometres south of Manila, since Saturday when the volcano first spewed thick ash and gases.

According to spokesman for the provincial police, Chief Inspector Arthur Gomez, the 81-year-old man was among the evacuees staying at an elementary school in Tabaco City.

“Unfortunately earlier today, his body was discovered lifeless,’’ Gomez said, adding that the man appeared to have died of ailments related to old age.

The volcano’s fiery display has drawn tourists to Albay province, where they observe the lava flows from a safe distance, while mandatory evacuation of residents was enforced within a 7-kilometre danger zone from Mayon’s summit.

Romina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the national disaster relief agency, added that they have witnessed lava fountaining, which was why they have additional families evacuated due to the threat.

“There are still signs of unrest, we also observed phreatic eruptions and spewed ash so it remains active,’’ she added.