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Philippine volcano evacuees warned not to come home as risk still high

Philippine volcano evacuees warned not to come home as risk still high

DPA
Talisay, Philippines
Thousands of residents forced to flee their homes near an erupting volcano in the Philippines were urged on Sunday to stay away due to the danger of a hazardous explosive eruption.
One week after the start of eruptions at the Taal Volcano in Batangas province, 66 kilometres south of Manila, displaced residents were getting restless and wanted to return home amid an apparent lull in the mountain’s activity.
Taal Volcano’s activity has been described as having “steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions” for the last three days by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
The explosions generated ash plumes ranging from white to dirty.
While many residents were not worried about them, Phivolcs warned the risk of bigger, more hazardous eruptions was still high.
“The volcano is already open,” said Maria Antonia Bornas, chief of the institute’s volcano monitoring unit. “The magma will climb up faster because there is no longer any pressure preventing it from doing so. Whatever was blocking it before has been removed.” She added that officials “stand firm on our recommendation that the defined danger zone be totally evacuated.” In the town of Talisay, authorities have ordered a lockdown, but some locals are sceptical of the official guidance.
“There’s nothing happening to the volcano right now,” said 84-year-old Rosauro Del Mundo. “It’s quieting down and we should be allowed to go back to our homes.” Del Mundo himself ignored the advice and never left, instead staying at his house in Talisay to guard it.
“Why would I leave? I’ve experienced four eruptions since I was a child and I’m still alive,” he said. “I will be alright.”
Damage to crops and infrastructure has been estimated at more than 400 million pesos (80 million dollars), the Philippine national disaster risk reduction agency said.
Taal Volcano, the second most active volcano in the Philippines, has erupted 33 times since 1572.