The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has been warning residents living 14 kilometers nearby Taal volcano for days that magma could rise from underneath the ground due to the volcano’s continuing unrest. The eruption that has started on January 12 has led to thousands of evacuees and few deaths and injuries, including wildlife and farm animals. The disaster also has resulted to massive agricultural damage which estimated to reach a cost of more than 577M Php ($15M) that includes rice, corn, coffee, bananas and cacao, according to the Department of Agriculture.
1,686 tons of sulfur dioxide emitted has also led to massive deaths of fishes in the lake surrounding the volcano. PHIVOLCS also reported on Friday, 8am that in the past 24 hours “steady steam emission and occasional weak explosions” are currently happening, still producing dark grey plumes that reached up to 800 meters tall while ash direction is “going southwest to west of the main crater”. PHIVOLCS still maintains that Taal is still on alert level no. 4, meaning “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days”.
The warning regarding magma flow was based on the dozens of fissures appearing everywhere in towns of Agoncillo, Lemery, San Nicolas, and Talisay due to intense seismic activities, causing damages to houses and other infrastructures. Meanwhile, 11 towns near the volcano are now currently under total lockdown due to the threat of imminent eruption. However, many residents are still coming back to their homes due to worries regarding their belongings and some due to their livestock that has been left.
Meanwhile, a 65-year-old woman was also reported to have died of cardiac arrest while evacuating. Experts could not tell until when will the unrest continues but suggest that intense activity still persists, probably for weeks or possibly months. Taal volcano’s last major eruption was 42 years ago (October 1977), and after that unrests were recorded during the year 2011, 2012, and 2014. The current Taal eruption was estimated to have affected at least more than 53,000 people and millions worth of infrastructures.