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Evacuations underway as PHIVOLCS raises Alert Level 3 over Taal Volcano

By January 12, 2020 1881

Metro Manila (, January 12) — Evacuations are underway in three towns in Batangas following the raising of Alert Level 3 over Taal Volcano after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recorded increased volcanic activity and a stronger explosion past 2 p.m. resulting in a one-kilometer ash column.

PHIVOLCS increased the alert level from Level 2 to Level 3 in just under an hour. Alert Level 3 means that there is magmatic unrest in the volcano, implying a movement in the magma.
"Magma is intruding from below. If eventually this will continue to move up, then there can be a magmatic eruption which is more dangerous," PHIVOLCS officer-in-charge Renato Soldium told CNN Philippines.

PHIVOLCS is strongly recommending that residents in Taal Volcano Island, and high-risk barangays in Agoncillo and Laurel be evacuated "due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami."

"The volcano is inside a bigger crater or basin or bowl, which is why people would have to evacuate horizontally and away from the crater. There is water that would be hindering the rapid evacuation and that is why people need to get out of the island as soon as possible," Solidum said.

National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council spokesperson Mark Timbal said evacuations are ongoing in the three towns nearest the volcano — San Nicolas, Balete and Talisay.

Ashfall is also being experienced over the southwest sector of Taal.PHIVOLCS reminded the public that the main crater of the volcano should be strictly off limits as sudden steam explosions may occur and high concentrations of deadly gases can be released.

PHIVOLCS said that Taal has been manifesting “moderate to high level of seismic activity” since March 28, 2019, with weak earthquakes being felt in several areas in Batangas.

This is a developing story.

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