Taal Volcano spews ash.
PHOTO BY SUPPLIED
MANILA – The Philippines is on full-alert status following the eruption of Taal Volcano over the weekend. Watch this space and hit refresh for latest updates as they happen.
Three men who volunteered to deliver relief goods to evacuees in Batangas province died in a car crash, police confirmed on Wednesday (January 15).
The victims were identified as Rio Abel, Maximino Alcantara and Darwin Lajara. Police said the vehicle carrying the trio crashed into a trailer truck in San Jose at around 1:30am on Tuesday after they visited the evacuation centre. Alcantara and Abel died on the spot, while Lajara died of his injuries in a hospital on Wednesday.
More than 40,000 residents have remained in over 200 evacuation centers in Batangas and Cavite following Taal Volcano’s eruption, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. More than 53,000 people have been affected, officials said.
Three members of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia were trapped in Taal Volcano Island after trying to rescue abandoned animals there on Wednesday (January 15), according to a report.
Anna Cabrera, executive director of Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), told radio station DZMM that she has requested the Philippine Coast Guard hto rescue the trio. Cabrera said that the three PETA rescuers called her to say that the person who delivered them on the island took the cows that they saved, but left the group behind.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported that a 3.2 magnitude quake rocked Surigao Del Norte, while a magnitude 2 earthquake was felt in Cavite, Iloilo, Surigao Del Sur, and Negros Occidental on Wednesday (January 15). A magnitude 3 earthquake was also felt as far as Davao Del Sur. Quakes continued to shake Batangas on Wednesday.
Phivolcs said that ground fissures were seen in the municipalities of Agoncillo, Talisay and Lemery in Batangas province, which was hit by earthquakes of varying intensities since Tuesday following the eruption of Taal Volcano.
Responding to news reports of the scarcity of air filtration masks in the Philippines following a surge in demand, Filipinos in the UAE rushed to send their personal aid to victims of Taal Volcano, with one group sending a box of 400 masks that will be specially carried by a Filipino expat who has traded her annual holiday for an impromptu aid mission in Batangas. Full story here
Bicol Police dispatched nearly 200 policemen to assist in the disaster operation in areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Brigadier General Anthony Alcañeses said he has sent 193 members of the Search and Rescue group to help the victims in several Batangas towns who were transferred to various evacuation camps.
Phivolcs on Tuesday (January 14) said a 3.1-magnitude earthquake rocked Batangas at 4:36am.
The epicentre of the quake was located west of Agoncillo, Batangas.
Residents on Tuesday took to social media to post photos of ash-covered Lipa City, Batangas.
Ashfall from Taal Volcano covered houses and even beach fronts.
Phivolcs on Monday said a magnitude 3.4 earthquake hit Cavite on Tuesday (January 14) at 1:14am.
Phivolcs said the epicenter was located east of Tagaytay City, Cavite.
The Philippine government said that farmers and fishermen affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano can get a loan of P25,000.
According to the Department of Agriculture on Monday (January 13), farmers and fishermen can pay the loan within three years without any interest.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the assistance is part of the government’s Survival and Recovery Assistance Program. Inquiries can be made through the hotline +63 2 89290140.
Meanwhile, Alert Level 4 is currently raised, which means a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum said that experts are continuing to observe Taal Volcano.
Phivolcs has recommended the evacuation of residents within the 14-kilometer radius of the volcano due to “high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami”.
At least 10,000 residents have been evacuated in Batangas, Cavite and other areas affected by Taal’s eruption.
Ashfall from the ongoing eruption of Taal has spread to Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Marikina, Parañaque, Pasig, Quezon City, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Manila, Makati, and Taguig.
Health authorities have warned the public to take precautions, due to the health effects of exposure to volcanic ash and gases.
The effects of volcanic gases on life may be direct, such as asphyxiation, respiratory diseases and skin burns.
The Manila government has begun a crackdown on stores selling overpriced air filtration masks as demand skyrocketed overnight, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan said on Monday.
Following government advisories to the public to use N95 filter mask for protection, the mask, which earlier cost around P30, were reportedly being sold for P200.
Vic Mayor Lacuna-Pangan said that retailers found to hike up prices will have their permits revoked, and will face penalties including fines of up to P10,000 and jail time ranging from five months to one year.
On Sunday, some airlines cancelled flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 due to ash clouds from Taal Volcano.
Low-cost carriers Cebu Pacific (CEB) and AirAsia Philippines have advised passengers to reach out to them regarding concerns and updates on their flight schedules.
A thick layer of ashes has carpeted open spaces of towns and cities along the SLEx area, including this national highway in San Pedro City, Laguna.
Residents of the three towns of San Nicolas, Talisay, and Balete in Batangas province, which are closest to Taal Volcano, were ordered evacuated.
In the province of Batangas, schools and government offices will remain closed until Tuesday (January 14) amid heightened volcanic activity.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said suspension will be in place until further advice from local government units. Private sector companies are “highly encouraged” to suspend work for safety, Medialdea said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday that the worst-case scenario for Taal Volcano is an eruption with a scale similar to the June 15, 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which killed 800 people and left 200,000 homeless.
Lorenzana said he hoped that a Pinatubo-like scenario would not happen.
The Taal Volcano is one of the world’s lowest and deadliest volcanoes at 311 metres hight, and one of the Philippines’ 24 active volcano. Prior to its eruption this week, the volcano last erupted in 1977.
Taal Volcano has 47 craters and 4 maars or volcanic craters. Its main crater lake is 1.9 kilometre in diameter and is located on Volcano Island, which lies in the middle of Taal Lake.
The volcano has erupted 34 times within 448 years. Authorities also recorded volcanic unrest in 2011, 2012, and 2014.
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