Over 53,000 people displaced in Philippines as Taal Volcano erupts

World Faizah Kamal 16-Jan-2020
Volcano Erupting
Philippenes volcanic eruption © Osef106 | Dreamstime.com

At least 53,000 people have fled at-risk areas near an erupting volcano in the Philippines on January 15 and authorities stressed that the danger may not be over.

The Taal Volcano in Batangas province, which is 66 kilometres south of Manila and located in the middle of Lake Taal, started sporadically expelling ash on January 12.

Residents were evacuated from towns in Batangas and Cavite provinces, however some men had stayed behind to watch over their properties and livestock.

Emergency teams, including police and soldiers, were seen scouring the affected towns to ensure that everyone had left, amid reports that some people had shunned official advice and returned to their homes after staying in cramped evacuation centres.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said it had monitored “continuous but generally weaker eruption of the main crater due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic processes” in the Taal Volcano over the past 23 hours.

However, the institute noted that enormous road cracks and ground deformation in towns surrounding the volcano, hundreds of volcanic earthquakes and high sulphur dioxide emissions signified continuous magmatic movement that may lead to more severe eruptions.

Phivolcs reiterated its recommendation for the total evacuation of the island and high-risk areas.

“Alert level 4 still remains in effect over Taal Volcano,” Phivolcs said in its latest bulletin.

“This means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days,” it added.