Natural Disasters

Taal volcano creates emergency in the Philippines

Taal is located 60 kilometres south of Manila, on the island of Luzon and is one of the smallest volcanoes in the country

 
Published: Monday 13 January 2020

The Philippines government evacuated people from capital Manila on January 13, 2019, after the Taal volcano started spewing ash and lava. The volcano is located 60 kilometres south of Manila, on the island of Luzon. It is one of the smallest volcanoes in the country.

Some 8,000 people have already been taken to 38 evacuation centres. Government security agencies and other aid organisations like the Red Cross are stationed in villages near Manila, helping people evacuate to safer places. But many residents are not willing to leave their homes. The government has also sent army convoys to help residents.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised its alert level to four. The highest alert is five. That indicates an imminent, hazardous eruption. A volcanic tsunami is possible as the Taal lake is very close to the volcano.

The ash from the volcano can travel up to 100 km. It contains microscopic glass shreds, which can penetrate deep into human lungs. It can also contaminate drinking water.

Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the country; at least 34 eruptions have been recorded in the past 450 years. It is considered a complex volcano — several eruption points have changed over time.

It could also affect many farmers and fishermen who live in the area and depend on the lake and its surrounding area for their livelihoods. When the volcano erupted in 1911, it killed about 1,500 people. In 1964, an eruption killed 150 people and in 1974, the eruption lasted several months.

Scientists at PHIVOLCS were monitoring the volcano from March 2019, and were surprised to see its progression in such a short time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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