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Mayon: The people constantly fleeing a Philippine volcano

Monet Oxales arranges packs of crisps and sweet bread for sale as the smell of raw fish wafts from a maze of tents. It's an hour before noon and the familiar lunchtime rush is playing out in a shelter, instead of her village near the Philippines' angry Mayon volcano.

Thousands in the Philippines' Albay province in the northeast peninsula of Bicol are living in shelters for an indefinite period as Mayon, the country's most picturesque, yet highly active volcano, oozes lava and remains under watch for a possible violent eruption.

Spending weeks or even months on end in evacuation centres has become routine for those who have lived under Mayon's shadow all their lives. For Ms Oxales, this means bringing her mini grocery store with her. For those who need to do their laundry, she also sells small packs of detergent.

The 40-year-old has lived in a shelter five times in her life. Since arriving about a week ago, she has transferred tents twice. Ms Oxales hopes the volcano will calm down soon so that her family can return to the only piece of land that they own.

"We can't totally leave our village because we're poor," she tells the BBC, as she watches over her five year-old daughter, who has been running a fever since they left their home in the farming town of Guinobatan.

"Our place is beautiful. Mayon eruptions are the only major problems we have. It's a natural disaster. We can't do anything but to temporarily leave our village."


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