A plume of ash, steam and pebbles filled the sky near Manila, Philippines on Sunday as Taal, one of the world’s smallest active volcanoes, erupted.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the cloud of gas and ash shot 10 to 15 kilometers in the air as the eruption began.
Reports show that light to mud-thick ash has been falling over towns and cities several kilometers away from the volcano.
Authorities have issued a “total evacuation” order for people living around Taal and near Manila, the country’s capital. So far, around 300,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, including 6,000 villagers who live on an island in the middle of the lake the volcano sits on.
Officials are urging all other residents in affected areas to stay inside if at all possible and to wear masks and goggles for protection. Motorists have also been cautioned to stay off the roads, as wet ash can become quite slippery.
Last erupting between 1965 and 1977, Taal – which is located 60 kilometers south of Manila – has been showing signs of a possible eruption since 1991. In 2019, PHIVOLCS raised the volcano to a level one alert, as heavy volcanic activity began occurring, including 57 volcanic earthquakes between November 11 and 12. On Sunday, PHIVOLCS raised the alert level again to a level four. According to the Associated Press, a level four alert indicates that “a hazardous eruption may happen within hours or days.” If the volcano reaches a level five – the highest level in the alert system - it would indicate that a hazardous eruption is underway and could affect an expansive area.
AccuWeater reports that the condition of the volcano became increasingly concerning Monday morning when lava began to spew from it. Reportedly, officials fear the eruption could last months or even years.
“We have asked people in high-risk areas, including the volcano island, to evacuate now ahead of a possible hazardous eruption,” Renato Solidum, the head of PHIVOLCS, said in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, power outages have been reported across the island country. Manila’s international airport was also shut down Sunday night. “Due to volcanic ash in the vicinity of the airport” all flights, departing from and incoming to the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, were suspended, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said in a statement. According to Business Traveller, as of mid-day Monday, Manila International Airport resumed partial operations.
No injuries have been reported at the time of this writing.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ezra Acayan/Stringer
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.