Villages in the Philippines were blanketed in volcanic ash today after a volcanic eruption which has forced thousands to flee their homes.
The Taal volcano was spurting fountains of red-hot lava half a mile into the sky today, sparking fears of a further eruption and leaving evacuees in limbo.
Today some villagers were clearing the dust and ash from their homes while others fled in cars or motorcycles, with dozens of volcanic earthquakes adding to the region’s woes.
Many people abandoned livestock and pets as well as homes full of belongings after authorities sounded an alert warning that an ‘explosive eruption’ could come imminently. A worker carries a fallen branch in a resort blanketed with volcanic ash in Talisay today, with authorities warning that the Taal volcano could continue spewing lava and ash for weeks – leaving thousands in limbo
A motorist examines his Jeep today after it was covered in volcanic ash during the eruption in the Philippines which is spewing lava half a mile high and constantly trembling with earthquakes
A ferris wheel is covered with volcanic ash in a park in Tagaytay City, with the surrounding trees also affected by the eruption
People living along Taal lake catch fish today with the erupting volcano in the background at what is usually a tourist spot
A family in a van crosses a damaged road caused by volcanic tremors following an eruption of Taal volcano two days ago
A swimming pool is filled with volcanic ash and fallen branches in a closed park in Tagaytay City following the volcano blast
A resident cleans his roof today after it was damaged by volcanic ash in Boso-Boso, in Batangas province in the Philippines
The crater of the volcano in the middle of a picturesque lake exploded to life with towering clouds of ash and jets of red-hot lava on Sunday, forcing those living around the mountain south of Manila to rush to safety.
Clouds of volcanic ash blowing over Manila, 40 miles to the north, closed the country’s main airport Sunday and part of Monday until the ash fall eased.
The alert level since the eruption began Sunday has been 4, indicating a hazardous eruption is possible in hours to days.
‘We left everything apart from what we’re wearing,’ said Robert Cadiz, a 47-year-old fisherman among some 30,000 who took refuge in shelters. ‘We were terrified.’
Gerald Aseoche, 30, who left with his four young children and a few possessions, has missed work to stay with them as the volcano belches out lava and earthquakes tied to the eruption rattle the region.
‘I am hoping this won’t go on too long because I will lose my job if I can’t report to work immediately,’ he said at an evacuation centre.
‘I can’t leave them… family first,’ he said as he cradled one of his children.
Leila de Castro carries a statue of the baby Jesus which she recovered from the house of her sister as she walks on a road covered with volcanic ash in Boso-Boso today
Residents on a motorcycle – one of them wearing a face mask and reflective glasses – evacuate from a village in Batangas
People carry piglets rescued from across the lake as Taal volcano continues to spew ash behind them, as seen from Talisay
Three of the carriages and the ticket booth of the ferris wheel in a park in Tagaytay City, which was left covered in ash
Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon said urged people to obey evacuation orders, saying the possibility of an explosive eruption was ‘high’.
‘We urge people living in the danger zone to evacuate and follow evacuation orders issued by the authorities, he said.
‘Bring your animals and livestock to evacuation centres if you must. The Philippine Red Cross is working round the clock to assess and meet the needs of affected communities.’
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 Taal eruption has been putting on a stunning and terrifying display, with lightning crackling through its ash cloud in a poorly understood phenomenon that has been attributed to static electricity.
Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines’ seismological agency, said Taal’s previous eruptions have lasted months so it was impossible to predict an end to the current activity.
However, he said the alert warning of a potentially catastrophic ‘explosive eruption’ may remain in place for weeks, depending on developments.
A resident with a shovel inspects the damage at a house destroyed by volcanic ash in Boso-Boso, Batangas province
The logo of a McDonald’s restaurant in Tagaytay City is seen splattered with mud from volcanic ash on Tuesday
A man clears his roof of volcanic ash at Boso-Boso today, with the volcano spewing lava half a mile high and trembling with earthquakes constantly
Solidum, the seismology chief, also warned residents from returning to high-risk villages based on perceptions that the eruption was easing.
He warned of pyroclastic flows, super-heated material from the volcano that can travel at great speed and incinerate anything in its path.
‘We have a protocol of waiting for several days, sometimes two weeks, to make sure that indeed… volcano activity has essentially stopped,’ he said.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport resumed reduced operations on Monday and was gradually recovering on Tuesday, but a backlog of cancelled flights resulted in ongoing pain for travellers.
Taal’s last eruption was in 1977, but it has a long history of activity. In 1965 the volcano, which is a popular tourist attraction set in a picturesque lake, killed some 200 people.
The country’s most powerful explosion in recent years was the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, about 100 kilometres northwest of Manila, which killed more than 800 people.
Volunteers and residents living at the foot of Taal volcano unload livestock after rescuing them from their homes and transporting them to Balete
Residents remove volcanic ash from their roofs in Boso-Boso after the neighbourhood was covered in volcanic ash
Volunteers provide free medical examinations inside an evacuation center in Santo Tomas today following the eruption
Volcanic tremors have added to residents’ woes, including here in Lemery where a road has been badly damaged
A swimming pool is filled with volcanic ash and fallen branches in a closed park in Tagaytay City