Volcano in the Philippines: residents urged not to return home as Taal continues to spit out ash and lava fountains



  • Volcano in the Philippines: residents urged not to return home as Taal continues to spit out ash and lava fountains

    The Taal volcano, about 60 kilometers south of the capital Manila on the island of Luzon, began to explode on Sunday, sending ashes up to nine kilometers (14 kilometers) into the air and causing warnings of a possible "explosive eruption". "

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has recorded 335 earthquakes in the volcano area – which is one of the most active in the country – since Sunday and said more activity is expected in the coming days.

    "These new strong and continuous earthquakes that we are currently experiencing are due to cracking, which means that there is really magma that continues to come out of Taal," said Mariton Bornas, chief of surveillance and monitoring. eruption of volcanoes, PHIVOLCS Protection Division. .

    The lava fountains generated dark gray plumes loaded with steam that reached 800 meters (2624 feet) high, according to the institute. A volcanic thinning was also visible.

    The institute said new vents had opened on the north flank of the volcano and new ashes had landed in nearby towns.Photos of the eruption show ash mixing with the rain, creating thick black mud that covers cars, streets and houses in some cities. Ash is even heavier than snow, which means that excessive build-up, especially when mixed with rain, can cause roofs to collapse.
    In a media briefing on Tuesday, PHIVOLCS director Renato Solidum said they could not say definitively when the eruptions would end.

    The alert level for the volcano remains at four, which means that an "explosive eruption" could occur in the hours or days to come. Its highest alert level is five, which indicates that an eruption is taking place.

    People warned not to go home
    The Taal volcano is not really very large – but it is considered one of the most dangerous in the world, due to the number of people who live in its immediate vicinity, said Erik Klemetti, volcanologist at Denison University.

    There are two concentric areas of concern around the volcano. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 459,000 people reside in a danger zone 14 kilometers (8.6 miles) around the volcano, while more than 930,000 people live within a larger 17 kilometer (10.5 mile) danger zone.

    PHIVOLCS requested a "total evacuation" of everyone within the largest radius of 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) around the volcano.

    A vehicle covered in ash mixed with rainwater after the Taal volcano erupted on January 12, 2020 in Talisay, the Philippines.A vehicle covered in ash mixed with rainwater after the Taal volcano erupted on January 12, 2020 in Talisay, the Philippines.
    Tens of thousands of people from Batangas and Cavite provinces have sought refuge in 118 temporary evacuation centers set up by authorities on Tuesday. The total number of evacuees is however unknown, with many choosing to stay with family members and relatives in other parts of the country.

    Following reports that some people were returning to their homes near the volcano to look after farms or livestock, authorities called on the public to stay away.

    Bornas said cracks had opened in the immediate danger area on Tuesday and called on people not to return home "as tremors are becoming frequent and cracks are noted in many areas".

    "PHIVOCS strongly reiterates the need to evacuate the island of the volcano, Lake Taal and the high-risk areas surrounding the volcano … located within 14 kilometers of the main crater," she said.

    Lightning strikes as a column of ash surrounds the crater of the Taal volcano during its eruption on January 12, 2020.

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