Philippine volcano Taal is spewing ash and lava

Thousands of residents have fled, hundreds of international flights have been cancelled…The Philippines is on high alert: The Taal volcano has awakened.

Thousands of residents evacuated and hundreds of international flights canceled

The Philippines is in a state of emergency: the Taal volcano just woke up. Armando Mendoza, an affected resident, shared, “We were frightened, panicked. We had to think about how to save our own lives. We lost all our sources of income, everything.” The volcano began to erupt on January 12, 2020. An explosion occurred due to underground steam pressure, producing a column of ash and gas over 10 km high.

The next morning, lava fountains appeared. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, volcanic debris larger than 6 cm in diameter fell in the surrounding areas. There could be a risk of aircraft being hit by these projectiles. More than 50 seismic tremors were also recorded. The government volcano monitoring agency raised the danger level to 4 on a scale of 5. 25,000 people have been evacuated and 45 shelters have been made available for those displaced. Some residents, however, could not be evacuated or refused to leave their homes. On January 13, 2020,the majority of public buildings, including schools, were closed. Masks were also distributed to help protect people from the ash and smoke. The authorities are closely monitoring the eruption’s progress.

In the past, the Taal volcano has already erupted several times: the 1794 eruption lasted 6 months, the one in 1911 killed 1,335 people, and the one in 1965 led to repeated eruptions in the 4 following years. Today, authorities fear another explosive eruption, which could cause severe damage.