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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Thousands evacuated as restive Taal Volcano's unrest worsens

Taal Volcano in minor eruption episode; PHIVOLCS raises Alert Level

MANILA – Authorities from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology today raised the alert level to Alert Level 3 which means magmatic unrest.

It will be recalled PHIVOLCS maintained Alert Level 2 which means increasing unrest.

At 3:16 P.M. today, Taal Volcano’s main crater generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic plume or smoke column to a kilometer high but didn’t trigger volcanic earthquakes.

In a late afternoon briefing hosted by Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum, he said the increase in alert level simply means magma has intruded into the main crater which may trigger succeeding eruptions.

Asked if the eruption would pose any danger to commercial aviation, Dr. Solidum who also sits as PHIVOLCS Director said there is none because the plumes has only reached a kilometer. He said they cannot measure the temperature because the 300-meter volcano continues to emit gasses.

He said Taal volcano’s structure has kept slow but steady inflation. An inflated volcano would mean significant volume of magma has entered the structure.

PHIVOLCS has strongly recommended strict evacuation from the volcano island and the considered high-risk villages within the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel due to possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.

Dr. Solidum reminded the general public that the entire volcano island is a Permanent Danger Zone and the travel to the island and the high-risk villages is strictly prohibited.

Communities around the Taal Lake shore have been advised to take precautionary measures and remain vigilant of possible lake water disturbances which may be triggered by the ongoing volcanic activity.

Meanwhile, Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said evacuees will be accommodated in government-run schools.

“Should there be a need for more evacuation centers, we will tap Catholic churches,” Governor Mandanas said.

Manila-based National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said they believe 3,523 families or 14,495 persons will be evacuated from five villages from Laurel town.

Batangas City now accepts evacuees from Agoncillo town.

The Philippine Coast Guard has alerted its personnel in the Southern Tagalog region to respond to the Taal Volcano caper. Two vehicles have been sent to Talisay town to help in the evacuation of local residents late Thursday afternoon. (Melo M. Acuna)

Science and Technology Undersecretary and PHIVOLCS Director Dr. Renato Solidum. (Screen grab from PHIVOLCS Press Briefing late Thursday afternoon. (Melo M. Acuna)

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