Over 40,000 villagers have been displaced as Philippines’ most active volcano spew red-hot lava plus massive ash plumes in an increasingly dangerous eruption. Many people who were displaced have been moved o evacuation centers.

Fountains of lava gushed up 700 meters above the crater of Mount Mayon crater and ash plumes went up to 3 kilometers at night. This is according to an update released by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. The most powerful explosion was witnessed on Monday.

The country’s authorities have warned of the possibility of a violent eruption in the coming days with more rumblings and pyroclastic flows followed by gas and volcanic debris that run down the slopes at very high speed.

Following Monday’s powerful explosion, officials raised the alert level to four on a scale of five and expanded the danger zone to 8 kilometers from the crater. This meant that thousands more people need to be evacuated in addition to at least 12,000 who ran away from their homes and then returned during mild eruptions.

Authorities have been struggling to prevent villagers from returning back to check on their belongings and farms as well as watch a cockfight in an arena in Albay’s Santo Domingo town due to the risks as well as police patrols and checkpoints. This was said by Cedric Daep, the provincial disaster-response official.

As a sign of desperation, Daep while addressing a news conference said that he has recommended water supply and electricity be cut in communities within the no-go zones so as to discourage residents from going back.

The eruptions have plunged surrounding villages in darkness and sent rocks, lava and debris rolling down the mountain’s slopes toward the no-entry danger zone. No reports of deaths and injuries have been reported since the eruptions started. Airplanes have been ordered to avoid from the crater as well as the ash-laden winds and a number of domestic flights have been canceled.

Volcanic ash spew on Monday in over a dozen towns in Albay and surrounding Camarines Sur province, with visibility being obscured in a number of towns due to the thick gray ash fall.