LEGAZPI CITY, the Philippines, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government has stepped up measures to ensure that no one will be at risk in the event that Mayon Volcano erupts.
The country's most active volcano -- which is located in the province of Albay, about 360 km southeast of Manila -- is expected to explode in the next few days.
"We're expecting explosive hazardous eruption within days. The tremors surged dramatically for the past 24-hours," Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum said in a forum held here.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda assured that everything is under control as government agencies and stakeholders are working together to achieve the "zero casualty" target of the national government.
Philippine Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales said he has ordered the cancellation of vacation and holidays of all paramedics of the Armed Forces of the Philipines to assist the evacuees.
Capt. Razaleigh Bansawan, spokesman of the Task Force Mayon and of the Army's 901st Brigade, said they have doubled their manpower around the volcano to man checkpoints, conduct patrols and enforce a curfew.
Authorities have been evacuating residents since Tuesday last week, after Phivolcs officials raised the alert level to three. Phivolcs raised Sunday the alert status of Mayon Volcano to Level 4 -- or just one step below the major eruption level after a series of increased volcanic activities were recorded over the past week.
The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said over 9,000 families have been evacuated from the eight-kilometer danger zone. The evacuees are housed in 25 evacuation centers.
Salceda that his office has ensured that all evacuation centers have enough food and water supply. He has also directed the provincial health staff to monitor the health condition of families evacuated specially those of the children and the elderly.