Taal volcano eruption: Philippines alert level raised as thousands flee ash clouds

Source(s)
Guardian, the (UK)

Lava has gushed out of a volcano in the Philippines after a sudden eruption of ash and steam that forced villagers to flee and shut down the country’s main airport, offices and schools.

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The evacuation numbers are likely to be higher as local authorities help displaced people before notifying the national agency that is collating the figures. Some residents could not move out of ash-blanketed villages because of a lack of transport and poor visibility, while others are refusing to leave their homes and farms.

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Several planes stranded at the Manila airport might be allowed to take off on Monday once they were cleaned of ash and authorities were sure an easterly shift in ash-laden wind away from the capital would not revert, the airport general manager, Ed Monreal, told a news conference. The airport could not accommodate incoming flights until stranded aircraft had flown out and freed up parking bays, he said.

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The government volcano-monitoring agency raised the danger level around Taal three notches to level 4, indicating an imminent hazardous eruption. Level 5, the highest, means a hazardous eruption is under way and could affect a larger area with high-risk zones that would need to be cleared of people, said Renato Solidum, who heads the institute.

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