A man walks the his belongings through clouds of ash kicked up on a road as authorities enforced total evacuation of residents living near Taal volcano in Agoncillo town, Batangas province, southern Philippines on Jan 16, 2020. Taal volcano belched smaller plumes of ash Thursday but shuddered continuously with earthquakes and cracked roads in nearby towns, which were blockaded by police due to fears of a bigger eruption. (AARON FAVILA / AP)
The Philippines has compelled residents of 12 towns and two cities near the restive Taal Volcano to move to safer ground even as the intensity of the eruption has weakened.
Mandatory evacuations have been enforced in areas prone to a tsunami and a surge of gas and rock fragments if the volcano 65 kilometers south of the capital Manila erupts violently
Mandatory evacuations have been enforced in areas prone to a tsunami and a surge of gas and rock fragments if the volcano 65 kilometers south of the capital Manila erupts violently, the disaster management agency said.
Two people have died and more than 121,000 people have fled to safety since Sunday, but poor visibility and slippery roads due to volcanic ash are hampering evacuation efforts, the military said Thursday.
Volcanic activity in the main crater “has been characterized by steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions that generated dark gray ash plumes 100 to 800 meters tall,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said in an 8 a.m. bulletin. Fissures in several villages in Batangas province have widened, a new steaming fissure was discovered on the slope of the volcano island, while the shoreline around Taal Lake has receded, the agency said.
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The second-highest alert in a five-step warning system remains in effect, suggesting hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days.
The nearby Cavite province has been placed under a state of emergency, joining Batangas province, which was given that status earlier this week to enable it to immediately disburse funds.
Taal is one of the most active and deadliest volcanoes in the Philippines, which sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire.” The volcano, which has 47 craters and lies in an island in the middle of a lake, is a top tourist attraction.
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