A small volcano south of the Philippine capital that attracts many tourists for its picturesque environment on a lake erupted on Sunday with a large cloud of ash and steam, which caused the flight of thousands of people and the closure of the Manila International Airport by officials. .
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said that the Taal volcano in Batangas province, south of Manila, threw steam, ash and stones up to 6 to 9 miles into the sky in an escalation dramatic of his growing concern, which began last year
The volcanology institute raised the level of danger around Taal by three notches on Sunday at level 4, indicating that “a dangerous eruption can occur in a few hours or days,” said Renato Solidum, who heads the institute. volcanology. Level 5, the highest, means that a dangerous eruption is in progress and could affect a larger area.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, but authorities rushed to evacuate more than 6,000 villagers from an island in the middle of a lake, where the volcano is located, and tens of thousands of people. ‘other neighboring coastal towns, authorities said. Some 300,000 people were attacked to be transferred to a safe place in Batangas overnight and in the days to come.
“We have asked residents of high-risk areas, including the island of the volcano, to evacuate now before a possible dangerous eruption,” said Solidum.
Renelyn Bautista, a 38-year-old housewife who was among the thousands of residents who fled the town of Laurel, in the province of Batangas, said that she had gone to a safe place with her two children, including a 4 month old baby after a Taal rash. and the ground trembled slightly.
“We quickly evacuated when the air became muddy from the ash fall and started to smell of gunpowder,” Bautista said by phone.
Fallen ashes covered the runways of Manila International Airport on Sunday evening. All international and domestic flights that took off and arrived were suspended “due to volcanic ash near the airport” and nearby air routes, said the Philippine Civil Aviation Authority.
Norwegian Tonny Roger, who flew to the Philippines to visit his wife, said he was not happy that his return flight to Norway was canceled, but he was thinking of the positive side. “Well, I can see her more. I’ll be back with her now,” he told the Associated Press at the airport.
Authorities have said they plan to divert flights to unaffected airports outside of Manila.
The Institute of Volcanology reminded the public that the small island where the volcano is located is a “permanent danger zone”, although fishing villages have existed there for years. He asked the neighboring coastal communities “to take precautionary measures and to be attentive to the possible disturbances of the water of the lake linked to the disturbances in progress”.
Heavy to light ash has been reported in cities several kilometers from the volcano, and authorities have advised residents to stay indoors and put on masks and safety glasses. Motorists were hampered by poor visibility, made worse by the rainy weather.
Hotels, shopping centers and restaurants line a mountain road along a ridge overlooking the lake and the volcano in the town of Tagaytay, a key tourist area that could be affected by a large eruption.
Authorities recorded a swarm of earthquakes, some of them with rumble noises and slight inflation of parts of the volcano by 1020 feet before the steam explosion on Sunday, authorities said.
Classes in a wide range of cities were suspended Monday, even in Manila, to avoid the health risks posed by the fall of ashes.
One of the world’s smallest volcanoes, Taal is one of two dozen active volcanoes in the Philippines, located along what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, an earthquake-prone and earthquake-prone region to volcanic eruptions.
Each year, around twenty typhoons and other major storms also afflict the Philippines, located between the Pacific and the South China Sea, making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.
Volcano erupts near Manila Images :