FEBRUARY 14, 2020 – The country’s volcanologists on Friday lowered the alert over Taal, the country’s second most active volcano, to level 2 after observing weaker activities a month after it erupted and threatened to bury with ashes a dozen towns around it.
In its latest advisory, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said the volcano showed signs of decreased unrest such as less frequent volcanic earthquake activity and weak steam emissions at its main crater.
However, the agency warned that a lower alert level does not mean the threat of an eruption has disappeared.
Sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, and ashfall can also still occur.
“Should an uptrend or pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn a potential eruption, the Alert Level may be raised back to Alert Level 3,” PHIVOLCS said.
PHIVOLCS advised returning residents to prepare for a quick and organized evacuation.
For three weeks, Taal volcano had been under Alert Level 3 that indicated a “decreased tendency towards hazardous explosive eruption.”
Taal acted up on Jan 12 after it spewed a tall ash cloud, forcing volcanologists to raise alert levels to 4, indicating a hazardous explosive eruption is imminent within days or hours.
More than half a million people in two provinces in the Southern Tagalog region were forced to flee from their homes.
Affected residents were allowed to return home except in six barangays in Laurel and Agoncillo within the seven kilometers danger zone of the volcano.
As of 6 a.m., the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that over 3,000 families are still taking temporary shelter while close to 59,000 families are being served outside evacuation centers.
The hazardous activities of the volcano also damaged a total of P3.4 billion worth of infrastructure, crops, and livestock in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna and Cavite. (Karen Macalalad/MM)
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