JANUARY 14, 2020 – More than 30,000 people had fled from their homes, emptying a dozen towns in Batangas province as Taal volcano continued to act up and possible hazardous explosive eruption within days, the disaster agency said on Tuesday.
In an updated report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said at least 18,187 people are now in evacuation centers as of 6 a.m., out of the 30,423 people affected in Batangas and Cavite.
The other affected residents chose to stay with relatives and friends in safer areas away from high-risk areas around the country’s second most active volcano.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) has set a danger around a 14-kilometer radius from the volcano island in the middle of Taal lake.
For the third day, Taal continued to show signs of possible explosive eruption within hours or days, the PHIVOLCS said in its latest bulletin.
The volcano has generated 500-meter tall lava fountains and dispersed ash in nearby provinces in the past 24 hours, it said based on its observation.
Two hundred twelve volcanic earthquakes were also recorded as of 2 a.m., of which 81 were felt in Tagaytay City, Cavite on intensities raging up to four.
“DOST-PHIVOLCS strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal Main Crater,” the agency said.
The heavy ashfall from the volcano resulted in class suspensions in parts of Metro Manila and CALABARZON today and cancellations of over 600 domestic and international flights.
Public offices resumed on Tuesday although they remained closed in Batangas where a state of calamity has been declared. Frontline government offices are exempted from work suspension.
The trading floors in the capital also reopened.
Some residents also experienced power interruptions in Amadeo and Tagaytay City in Cavite and Tanauan City, Laurel, Talisay and Lemery in Batangas. Electricity has been restored in Lipa City.
On Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte said he plan to visit Taal affected families today despite warnings from his doctor about its potential effect on his health.
“Kainin ko pa ‘yang ashfall na ‘yun, pati ‘yang Taal na ‘yan ihian ko ‘yan. P***** i**, b***** na ‘yan,” he told reporters during his visit to Philippine Marine Corps in Taguig.
Duterte has previously postponed several of his public engagements to take a short rest. He had admitted to having several illnesses, including a chronic neuromuscular disorder called myasthenia gravis, migraines, back problems, Barrett’s esophagus, and Buerger’s disease.
However, his office has assured there is nothing to worry about the president’s health. (Karen Macalalad/MM)