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Residents evacuate after Taal Volcano eruption

On March 26, Saturday, at least 9,000 people of two towns in Batangas province were evacuated to temporary shelters when the Taal Volcano erupted early in the morning, shooting steam-laden grayish plumes 3 kilometers into the sky.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) has raised the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 of Magmatic Unrest after the volcano suddenly erupted phreatomagmatic eruptions on Saturday morning.

Under Alert Level 3 of magmatic unrest, PHILVOLCS has ordered the evacuation of high-risk areas, including some barangays in Agoncillo and Laurel, Batangas, as explosive bursts may still happen after the phreatomagmatic eruption. However, according to PHILVOLCS Director Renato Solidum Jr., explosions this time are not as strong as compared to the Taal explosion in January 2020 that caused an evacuation for hundreds of thousands of people.

“In 2020, it started as a phreatic-driven explosion, and then it burst rapidly. In this case, we don’t see that yet,” Solidum stated.

Phreatomagmatic eruption is a volcanic eruption that happens when magma comes into contact with water, which is then followed by several volcanic earthquakes.

Despite Taal Volcano staying on Alert Level 3 from showing several volcanic activities, including at least 10 volcanic tremors, 14 volcanic earthquakes, and two other phreatomagmatic bursts over the weekend, PHILVOLCS assured that tourists and residents along Tagaytay and Nasugbu are still safe at the moment.

"Yes, it is safe ano. The approach here is managing the risk. Sa Alert Level 3, ang nangyayari, hindi pa masyadong malakas. So walang threat pa beyond the mentioned barangays," Solidum stated.

Although the eruptions are not as violent as it sounds, PHILVOLCS and The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council still advise everyone near the area to remain vigilant by taking precautionary measures such as preparing for a possible evacuation.

PHILVOLCS said that nearby residents could wear masks against possible airborne ash. Meanwhile, pilots are also advised to avoid flying near the volcano due to possible ballistic fragments and ash from sudden explosions.

While residents outside high-risk areas can continue their usual livelihood activities, Solidum warned that all activities on Taal Lake are currently prohibited.

Photo via Inquirer.Net

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