PHIVOLCS raises alert level 3 in Taal Volcano, evacuation now underway
Residents near the town of Taal Volcano are now being evacuated after PHIVOLCS (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) raised its alert level from 2 to 3 due to its increasing volcanic activity on Sunday afternoon.
National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council spokesperson Mark Timbal said the municipalities of Balete, San Nicolas and Talisay in Batangas have undertaken precautionary evacuation after the volcano spewed a 100-meter ash column in a phreatic explosion.
The agency has observed increased steaming activity in at least five spots inside Taal Volcano’s main crater at around 1 p.m. based on its latest monitoring. “Taal Volcano Main Crater has escalated its eruptive activity, generating an eruption plume one kilometer high, accompanied by volcanic tremor and felt earthquakes,” it says.
Phivolcs has also recorded three earthquakes related to the volcanic eruption. The agency also warned that the volcano’s main crater was “strictly off-limits” to the public due to sudden explosions that might occur and high concentrations of lethal volcanic gases can be released.
Since March 28, 2019, Taal has been manifesting “moderate to high level of seismic activity” with weak earthquakes being felt in several areas in Batangas, Phivolcs noted. The agency told the public that the entire volcano island is a “permanent danger zone and permanent settlement is strictly prohibited.”
Furthermore, Phivolcs advises communities near Taal to “take precautionary measures and be vigilant of possible lakewater disturbances related to the ongoing unrest.”