High alert in the Philippines as volcano activity intensifies, fuelling eruption fears.
Rations of noodles, fried fish and fruit were distributed.
Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas said many people in the evacuation centre she visited said it was one of the best Christmases they could remember.
“The government has really bent over backwards to provide for them … They say they have more food than they had hoped for, more than if they had stayed at home and they didn’t have to spend a cent for it,” she said.
“There was even dancing, music and films as entertainment for the children.”
Lava has been flowing from the dome of the 2,460-metre Mayon for 11 days, with clouds of ash ejected up to 2km into the sky.
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However, experts studying the volcano say that it may yet calm down or settle into a more moderate eruption phase.
Experts observing Mayon are concerned that a violent, pyroclastic explosion could devastate the area surrounding the volcano.
Troops have been ordered to enforce an extended 10km no-go zone around the volcano and have imposed 24 hour curfew.
Residents living outside the evacuation area have reported health problems from the clouds of volcanic ash ejected from the volcano.
Villagers said the ash is stinging their eyes and irritating their skin.
Medical officials have warned that the tiny ash particles could cause respiratory problems or skin diseases and have advised residents to cover their mouths and skin when they go outside.