A volcano in the Philippines has started spewing red-hot lava, and authorities have warned of “an imminent hazardous eruption.” Multiple sources have predicted the volcano will erupt within a matter of hours.
The Taal Volcano in Batangas province, South of the capital Manila, began to erupt in the early hours of Monday after blasting steam and rock up to 15,000 metres into the air on Sunday.
Clouds of ash travelled more than 62 miles north to Manila and forced a partial shutdown of the country’s main airport. The ash clouds have led to more than 240 international and domestic flights being cancelled.
The country’s disaster-response agency said about 8,000 villagers have moved to at least 38 evacuation centres. But numbers are expected to rise with hundreds of thousands more being told to flee.
Coastal communities have been told to evacuate in case an eruption causes a tsunami.
One woman who fled with her children said: “The air turned muddy because of the ashfall and it started to smell like gunpowder.”
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the threat level to 4 – meaning a hazardous eruption is imminent.
A statement said: “Hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days. (The institute) strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and additional evacuation of areas at high risk … within a 14km radius.”
Volcanic lightning has been seen as tremours shake the area.
Taal is among two dozen active cones in the Philippines, which lies along the so-called Pacific ‘ring of fire’. It is one of the smallest volcanoes in the world.
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