Tens of thousands face uncertainty as Philippines volcano spews lava

Updated: Jan 16, 2020, 09:03 IST | Agencies | Tanauan

However, he said the alert warning of a potentially catastrophic "explosive eruption" may remain in place for weeks, depending on developments

Residents living along Taal lake catch fish as Taal volcano erupts in Tanauan town, Batangas province south of Manila on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
Residents living along Taal lake catch fish as Taal volcano erupts in Tanauan town, Batangas province south of Manila on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

Tanauan: Taal volcano in the Philippines could spew lava and ash for weeks, authorities warned on Tuesday, leaving tens of thousands in limbo after they fled their homes fearing a massive eruption. The crater of the volcano 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.

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. "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," Aseoche, a house painter, told AFP. Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon warned that the group was "preparing for the worst" and urged people to away from the volcano. "Bring your animals and livestock to evacuation centres if you must," he added. Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines' seismological agency, said Taal's previous eruptions lasted for months so it was impossible to predict an end this time. However, he said the alert warning of a potentially catastrophic "explosive eruption" may remain in place for weeks, depending on developments.

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