LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines -- Tens of thousands of families on the Island of Luzon have been forced to evacuate their homes because a volcano may erupt in the next few days.
Red lava spitting out of the Mayon volcano and oozing down its slopes is a spectacular sight. Scientists say this means a major eruption may be emmient.
Many homes have been evacuated from the volcano's danger zone. However, the heads of families have remained, because they have to feed their animals. The alert level has just been raised to level 4 which means imminent danger for everyone. The Philippine military says everyone will soon be forcibly evacuated from the area .
About 10,000 families are taking refuge in schools that have been turned into evacuation centers. But the centers are overcrowded, with as many as 25 families living in one room.
Many residents are taking a great risk by going back to their houses during the day.
"It's very difficult at the evacuation center," said Gemma Alawrin, as she walked her daughter towards their house in the danger zone. "And so at daytime we go back to our house to cook and to take a bath."
Members of a Christian church near the danger zone are fervently praying against a major eruption.
Pastor Ruel Orijuela of Soldiers for Christ Christian Community Church said more people are coming to church since the volcano became active. They remember having to leave their homes when Mayon erupted in 2006.
A disaster relief team from CBN's Operation Blessing International is standing by to help victims if there is another major eruption. Orijuela and his church are also ready to serve alongside the ministry.
It is a partnership that began several years ago when Operation Blessing helped rebuild their church building after a typhoon caused severe damage to the property.
"I am very thankful to Operation Blessing because they were the ones who provided for the materials of our church," Orijuela said. "And now this church serves as a refuge for the people in this area who need comfort and hope especially in our situation now."