Philippines on Alert as Authorities Warn of Volcanic Eruption

On January 14th, authorities in the Philippines declared a “calamity zone” for the area near Taal Volcano, where the volcano already starting spurting lava and ash over the weekend. The alert level is currently 4 out of 5. If authorities declare a level 5, it means that there is an active eruption.

The volcano has already forced the evacuation of 30,000 people near the volcano. The zone around the volcano includes about 560,000 residents who may also need to relocate in the coming days. In Manilla, which is 40 miles north of the volcano, businesses, schools and government offices were closed. On January 13th, the airport cancelled 500 flights due to the ash.

Villagers looking at Taal Volcano erupting on January 13th (Source: NPR).

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has evidence to suggest that a volcanic eruption could happen in the next couple days. This includes new fissures in the ground near the volcano and about 50 volcanic earthquakes in a short period of time which indicates that magma is rising underground. It is possible that a volcanic eruption could also cause a tsunami in the lake surrounding the volcano.

Two towns close to the volcano, Agoncillo and Lemery, are covered in thick ash. The region currently has no power and water and there is a need for face masks to protect them from choking on the ash.

Read more at NPR.