Philvolcs raises Alert Level 3 as Taal Volcano spews km-high ash column

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The kilometer-high ash column spewed by Taal Volcano at around 6 p.m. Sunday. (Jericho Go/Currentph.com)

MANILA, Philippines – Evacuation of hundreds of residents from towns living near Taal Volcano are currently underway amid the increasing volcanic activity of Taal Volcano on Sunday, 12 January 2020 disaster-mitigation officials said.

At around 6 p.m. Sunday, Taal Volcano’s “phreatic explosion” spewed a kilometer-high ash column that hovered nearby towns as if a very heavy rain is coming down.

Residents evacuated were from towns and municipalities of Balete, San Nicolas and Talisay in Batangas.

Residents in nearby Tagaytay City and Alfonso were also reportedly scampering for safely from highly dangerous ashfall that has already reached as far as Sta. Rosa and Calamba, Laguna; Sto. Tomas City in Batangas.

Three earthquakes related to the eruption were also recorded the Phivolcs said.

Activity of the volcano started as early as 1 p.m. Sunday.

Classes on Monday (January 13, 2020) in both public and private schools have already been suspended Sunday.

Philvolcs said the volcano has manifested “increased steaming activity in at least 5 spots inside the main crater” and is ongoing as of this writing.

Phivolcs officer-in-charge Renato Solidum recorded Taal Volcano’s activity at Level 3.

He also gave a warning “of possible eruption within days to weeks, could be raised if the volcano’s activities continue to increase.”

“Kapag nag-increase pa ng alert level dapat ’yung nasa paligid ng lawa dapat ding maghanda in case na mag-escalate pa ’yung condition ng activity ng volcano,” he told radio DZMM.

Philvolcs also reminded the public that the volcano’s main crater was “strictly off limits” due to sudden steam explosions and the possible release of high concentrations of lethal volcanic gases.

“The northern portion of the main crater rim, in the vicinity of Daang Kastila Trail, can also become hazardous when fumarolic or degassing activity along existing fissures suddenly increases,” Phivolcs said.

The entire volcano island is a “permanent danger zone (PDZ), and permanent settlement in the island is strongly not recommended,” it added.

Officials are currently monitoring the activity of the volcano.

Records show Taal Volcano last erupted on January 30, 1911 wherein 1,500 people allegedly died and caused millions of pesos worth of damage. (JGo/Currentph.com)

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