Evacuation notices, debris reaches Manila . . .
Taal volcano, located in Batangas province, erupted on Sunday spewing fumes, ash, and lava from its main crater. The ashfall, accompanied by rain, travelled north, affecting Manila and other metropolitan areas. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised a level 4 alert for Taal, which indicates the continuing “high possibility” of a “highly hazardous eruption.” Communities living around the volcano have been notified to evacuate, and international flights temporarily halted. Subsequent earthquakes in the days following the eruption have also occurred in areas near Taal.
Relief efforts underway . . .
Taal volcano is the second most active volcano in the Philippines, last erupting in 1977. An estimated half a million people live in areas around the volcano, in the provinces of Cavite and Batangas. The United Nations reported that 38,000 people have been moved to 198 evacuation centres, with more efforts to reach those living within a 14-km radius of Taal. Aid organizations, churches, local government units, and businesses are providing supplies and assistance to those displaced. Since Sunday, the volcanic activity has weakened, with some residents returning to the area despite warnings of further eruptions.
Philippines no stranger to natural disasters . . .
Taal’s eruption is the most recent in a history of volcanic activity in the Philippines. The country is located along the Pacific ‘ring of fire’ and has experienced violent eruptions before, including Mount Pinatubo in 1991. That event was the second-largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century (after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in Alaska) and reportedly claimed 847 lives. Though the island nation is no stranger to natural disasters, Taal’s eruption highlights the Philippines’ limited infrastructure and resources to combat them.