TAAL Volcano’s eruption, which caused mass evacuations on Sunday, could well erupt again as local authorities warn there could be further explosions “with hours”.
The volcano is situated south of the capital Manila and shot a plume of ash 1km (0.6 miles) into the sky on Sunday. Towns near the volcano have been evacuated and residents have been taken to safer ground following the volcanic eruption.
This afternoon, the country’s Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS-DOST), have raised the alert level from three to four.
Coupled with the announcement released at 12.30pm GMT (7.30pm local time), the agency has warned of possible impending eruptions.
In a statement released by the institute, they said: “DOST-PHIVOLCS is now raising the alert status of Tall from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 4.
“This means that hazardous explosive eruptions are possible within hours to days.
“DOST-PHIVOLCS, strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and additions evacuation of areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within 14km radius from the Taal Main Crater.”
Approximately 8,000 residents were at risk and therefore had to be evacuated according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
According to the council, 6,000 people had already been removed from the area by early Sunday evening.
The country’s President, Rodrigo Duterte also released a statement issuing agencies to ”undertake measures necessary to place the people within the perimeter of Taal out of the danger zone”.
The volcano is the country’s send-most active although it is one of the world’s smallest.
Following reports of rumbling near to the volcano, residents in the local vicinity then reported ash falling from the sky.
Due to that, the country warned those in the area to wear masks.
Commenting on the eruption, local resident, Jon Patrick Yen said: “We were having lunch when we heard rumbling.
“We saw the volcano erupting.
“It rained and some small pebbles fell to the ground.
“I did not expect to see such a spectacle.
“We just went by to eat.”
Moreover, the Philippine airport authority suspended flights on Sunday at Manila’s international airport.
They tweeted: “Flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been temporarily suspended due to the volcanic ash from the eruption of Taal Volcano.”
Although there has been a giant plume of ash, there have been no reports of damage or any casualties.
Renelyn Bautista, a 38-year-old housewife who fled from Laurel town, said: “The air turned muddy because of the ash fall and it started to smell like gunpowder.”