After 43 years of silence, the Taal Volcano, approximately 37 miles south of the capital city of the Philippines, Manila, erupted Sunday afternoon, with ash rising up to six to nine miles at around local time 5:30 p.m. As the ash reaching north as far as the capital, the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned of explosive eruption featuring a Level 4 alert status – meaning that the situation is likely to escalate within several days to come.
Authorities also forewarned the possible consequence as volcanic tsunami that would severely affect the coastal areas, since an eruptive release of force could generate destructive waves from the nearby ocean. What’s more, minor earthquakes were also reported by the nation-own Philippines News Agency.
The evacuation of three towns around the island of Luzon where Taal locates were ordered after the warnings. Described as “smell of sulphur”, the air quality dropped so drastically in the surrounding area that those with respiratory diseases were expected to evacuate immediately. Throughout the actions, the Philippine Red Cross has played a major part in organizing volunteer teams for evacuation guidance and providing first aid services.
As ash also flushed onto the airport runways, flights were cancelled due to poor visibility; multiple arrivals and departures were suspended by the Manila International Airport Authority.
In times like these, while we are hoping for best, perhaps it would also be helpful to keep an eye on further information. Click here for some tips when encountering a volcano, and here for more information on Taal Volcano Eruption.