Lava flows from the crater of Mount Mayon volcano (Source: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)

Manila, January 26 (VNA) - The Philippines is preparing for a possible three-month-long emergency in areas around erupting Mount Mayon, said the local disaster agency.

Mount Mayon in the central province of Albay remained at alert level 4, a notch below the highest level, as it continued to spew lava, ash and other superheated materials, displacing more than 81,000 people living nearby.

Romina Marasigan, spokeswoman of the country's disaster agency, said evacuated residents will have to live in 69 temporary shelters for a long time.

Food and other supplies remain adequate but concerns are growing over health and hygiene conditions in these shelters. Respiratory illnesses are possible because of volcanic ash, she said.

"We remain on red alert," said Marasigan, adding that 69,672 evacuees were housed in schools, while nearly 12,000 others took shelter in tents or went to relatives in more secure locations. Ninety-seven flights have so far been cancelled.

Despite being a popular tourist attraction, Mount Mayon has erupted around 50 times in the past 400 years. Its 1814 eruption killed 1,200 people and buried three towns under mud and rock.-VNA