JANUARY 15, 2020 – The evacuees in a southern province have swollen to more than 50,000 people, leaving areas around Taal volcano virtually into ghost towns, the disaster management agency said on Wednesday.
Taal has showed signs of an imminent hazardous explosive eruption within hours or days, the state volcanology and seismology agency said. It has been acting up in the last four days, spewing ashes and shaking the ground constantly.
In its latest report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said around 20,000 more individuals were affected by the country’s second most active volcano in Batangas and Cavite.
Most of the 53,019 affected residents were from the towns of Balayan, Batangas City, San Luis and Sto. Tomas of Batangas, and towns of Alfonso and Tagaytay City in Cavite. Of this number, a total of 43,681 persons are taking temporary shelter in evacuation centers.
The departments on social welfare and health have already distributed close to 5 million pesos worth of assistance, the NDRRMC noted.
Taal remained under the second highest alert level for the fourth day despite having a generally weaker eruption, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in its latest bulletin.
Phivolcs said the volcano generated dark gray steam-laden plumes that reached 1,000 meters high and continued to disperse ash southwest that can cause respiratory problems.
One hundred fifty-nine volcanic earthquakes were reported since yesterday morning, of which 28 were felt with intensities one to three. “Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” Phivolcs said.
With this development, the seismology department reiterated its call for total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and areas at high risk within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal main crater.
Classes remained suspended today in Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna due to the heavy ashfall coming from the volcano. The worth of damaged crops and livestock also rose to 74 million pesos, with Batangas badly hit and declared under state of calamity. (Karen Macalalad/MM)