- The police stepped up patrols to clear towns located within a 14 km (8.69 mi.) radius danger zone around Taal Volcano.
- PHIVOLCS said on Saturday that “steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions” were monitored in the past 24 hours.
- “What we see on the surface is different from what is happening underneath.”
The number of displaced due to the Taal Volcano eruption in the northern Philippines has risen to 162,000 as the experts say steady steam emission and tremors indicate a rising magma. The state scientists continue to warn that the threat of a hazardous explosive eruption remains despite an apparent lull in the activity on the surface.
The police stepped up patrols to clear towns located within a 14 km (8.69 mi.) radius danger zone around Taal Volcano. This has increased the number of evacuees in Batangas province, some 66 km (14 mi.) south of Manila. Among those displaced are about 5,000 people who live on Luzon Island— a popular tourist destination known for its stunning view of the volcano’s crater Lake and lush hills teeming with trees and birds.
The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said on Saturday that “steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions” were monitored in the past 24 hours at Taal Volcano, which is located in the middle of a lake. The explosions generated “white to dirty white ash plumes 50 meters to 600 meters tall,” it added.
Renato Solidum, PHIVOLCS’ chief, said that continuing earthquakes are being monitored at Taal Volcano, an indication that magma was continuing to rise to the top. “What we see on the surface is different from what is happening underneath,” Solidum told a press conference. “Alert level four remains because there is still a hardazous explosive eruption,” he added. PHIVOLCS had earlier on reported more signs of unrest at the volcano, including a fissure on the slope of the volcano, the widening of road cracks in nearby towns, and receding shoreline around Taal Lake.
In a time of disaster, residents from the city of Binan are mixing volcano ash and plastic waste to make bricks and help build homes and schools, in a bid to reconstruct communities ravaged by Taal. After Taal erupted last week, the environmental officials from the region decided to come up with an inventive and more sustainable solution to the country’s persistent disasters. The mayor of Binan asked residents to collect the volcano ash in sacks so that it could be taken to a state owned factory. The ash is said to be combined with sand, cement and discarded plastics to create around 5,000 bricks a day to help rebuild what Taal destroyed.
Taal Volcano is the second most active volcano in the Philippines. It has erupted 33 times since 1572. Its latest eruption was in October 1977, but it showed signs of unrest between 2008 and 2011, as well as in 2019.
The Official United Nations Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that more than 450,000 people are estimated to live within the 14 km danger zone of the Taal Volcano. Earthquakes and volcanic activity are not uncommon in the Philippines, which lies along the Ring of Fire— a zone of major seismic activity, which has one of the world’s most active fault lines.