At least 2,400 flee as Philippine volcano spews toxic gas - GulfToday

At least 2,400 flee as Philippine volcano spews toxic gas


This still image taken from video shows an eruption from the main crater of the Taal volcano in Batangas province. AFP

Gulf Today Report

A volcano near the Philippine capital belched a plume of steam and ash into the sky in a brief explosion. The volcano eruption that has filled the air near the Philippine capital with toxic gas, officials said on Saturday.

Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told a news conference that, “It's just one explosive event, it's too early to tell.”


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Taal volcano, which sits in a picturesque lake, has been belching sulphur dioxide for several days, creating a thick haze over Manila and several surrounding provinces, and prompting health warnings.

Residents who fled their homes and stayed at a school turned into an evacuation centre at Laurel town, Batangas. AP

At least 2,400 people have left their homes since the government called for evacuations of hamlets on the lake's shores, provincial disaster official Joselito Castro.

"We expect more residents to evacuate over the coming days," he said, adding that they were seeking refuge either in schools closed by the coronavirus pandemic or in the homes of relatives.

Taal lies just 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Manila and for much of the past week has discharged volcanic smog that has blotted out the sun in the capital.

Residents who fled their homes eat in an evacuation centre in  the town of Laurel, Batangas, Philippines on Friday. AP

Civil defence officials have warned that upwards of 317,000 people could be vulnerable to toxic gas emissions from the volcano under the current eruption's worst-case scenario.

Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in a nation hit periodically by eruptions and earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" -- a zone of intense seismic activity.

The last eruption there in January 2020 shot ash 15 kilometres (nine miles) high and spewed red-hot lava, crushing scores of homes, killing livestock and sending over 135,000 people into shelters.


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