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Total evacuation needed as Taal Volcano remains dangerous

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Taal Volcano’s eruption turned most areas in Balete, Batangas, into a hapless state of gray and brown. (Yummie Dingding)

Taal Volcano is still under Alert Level 4, thus the continued plea of officials on Tuesday for a total evacuation of families within a 14-kilometer radius from the main crater.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said residents are at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami and are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall.

Alert Level 4 means a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days. Civil aviation authorities must also advise aircraft to avoid the airspace around Taal Volcano.

For the past 24 hours, Taal Volcano’s activity has been characterized by continuous eruption of the main crater due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic activity, Phivolcs said.

The eruption generates 500-meter tall lava fountains topped by dark gray steam-laden plumes reaching approximately two kilometers tall and dispersing ash.

Heavy ashfall has reportedly fallen on the municipalities of Lemery, Talisay, Taal and Cuenca in Batangas, which is under a state of calamity.

Officials of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Office of Civil Defense, Manila International Airport Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Department of Health give updates on the Taal Volcano eruption in a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday morning, 14 January 2020. (Francis Wakefield)

About 2,869 families from Talisay  have moved to safer grounds, Talisay police chief Sr. Inspector Aldrin Baysa said.

“Government security forces and local government units continue to move affected families in Talisay town and neighboring municipalities to safer grounds and away from the volcano’s wrath,” said Baysa.  “We have ongoing operations in coordination with the military rescue team and Philippine Coast Guard.”

As of 2 a.m. Tuesday, the Philippine Seismic Network has recorded 212 volcanic earthquakes in the Taal region, with 81 having intensities ranging from I to V in Tagaytay.  (With a report from PNA)

 

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