Officials estimated that at least 200 000 residents could be forced to flee if the eruption worsens.
Manila – A volcano near the Philippine capital started spewing
lava fountains on Monday, as the country’s specialist institute
warned of “further eruptive activity” that could affect hundreds of
thousands of people.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs)
recorded at least 75 volcanic earthquakes overnight from Taal Volcano
in Batangas province, 66 kilometres south of Manila.
Some 45 000 residents had already evacuated at-risk areas the day
before due to thick ash fall and showers of small stones raining on
Officials estimated that at least 200 000 residents could be forced
to flee if the eruption worsens, and said it was possible there could
still be a “hazardous explosive eruption” within hours or days.
The “magmatic eruption [of Taal Volcano] is characterized by weak
lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning,”
the institute said.
“Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic
intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further
eruptive activity,” Phivolcs said in its bulletin.
A huge cloud of white and grey ash reaching up to 15 kilometres high
and accompanied by lightning billowed out of Taal’s main crater
starting on Sunday.
Manila’s international airport closed operations overnight due to
falling ash, and cancelled more than 100 international and domestic
School classes were suspended and government offices closed on Monday
in metro Manila, Batangas and 11 other provinces affected by the
Taal Volcano, the second most active volcano in the Philippines, has
erupted 33 times since 1572, Phivolcs said. Its last major eruption
was in October 1977, while the deadliest was in 1911, killing more
than 1,300 people.