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Taal alert level 5, volcanic tsunami possible

Hananeel Bordey

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Ashfall due to Sunday's Taal Volcano eruption stalls this hearse in Agoncillo, one of the hardest hit towns in Batangas. (Yummie Dingding)

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said raising Taal Volcano’s alert level to the maximum 5 (hazardous eruption) from the current level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent) is possible.

The agency’s Supervising Science Research specialist Winchelle Sevilla said they are monitoring the eruption and lava fountain developments but this early, urged residents nearby to evacuate immediately as there is also a possibility of a volcanic tsunami.

Oregon State’s Volcanic World said volcanic tsunami is “a result of violent submarine explosions, tectonic movement or pyroclastic flow discharge into the sea. As the wave is formed, it moves in a vertical direction and gains great speeds in deeper waters and can reach speeds as fast as 650 miles per hour. In shallow water it can still be as fast as 200 mph. This power doesn’t decrease when they hit land though and there is an extreme amount of energy when the water travels back towards its source.”

Sevilla, however, is hoping to lower the alert warning to level 3 if the activity around the volcano is lessened in the next few hours.

Scientists from Phivolcs are also monitoring the air quality in Tagaytay to measure the amount of sulfur dioxide present in the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Department of Social Welfare and Development Assistant Secretary Rudy Encabo said 10,000 family food packs have been transported Batangas and Cavite.

Senator Francis Tolentino, who hails from Tagaytay, asked the DSWD and the Department of Health to go to the communities in Batangas and Cavite to determine how many more relief goods and face masks are needed by evacuees.

Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III also ordered local officials to ensure readiness for their affected constituents.

Densing said local governments should make sure their councils are ready to convene anytime in case there is a need to declare a state of calamity.  Failure to do so may mean administrative sanctions and other cases that can be filed with the Office of the Ombudsman.

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