MANILA: It was disaster and chaos on Monday (Jan 13) at the Taal volcano island – typically a scene of serenity and a popular tourist attraction in the Philippines.
The Taal volcano began rumbling on Sunday, spewing lava and thick columns of ash into the sky and across the surrounding area.
Authorities raised the volcano alert level to its second-highest, saying an “explosive eruption” could happen in “hours to days”. They also warned that an eruption could send a tsunami surging across the lake.
More than 24,000 people were evacuated from the island and the area immediately around it as dozens of tremors set residents on edge.
Pictures taken in the city of Talisay near the volcano showed houses and cars caked in ash, as well as mud-filled streets. Trees appeared ashen and depleted.
Soldiers and policemen were also seen standing guard in the middle of the street and ushering residents away in trucks.
Schools such as the San Roque Elementary School in Tanauan, Batangas have become evacuation centres for residents near the volcano.
Bottled water and other dry goods were seen the evacuation centre. Fresh food was also being distributed to residents.
Taal, one of the world’s smallest active volcanoes, is located about 70km south of the centre of the Philippine capital, Manila.
More than 500 flights were delayed or cancelled on Sunday, snarling plans for tens of thousands of people travelling through Manila’s international airport.
Flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were partially resumed on Monday.
Among the airlines that rescheduled flights on Sunday and Monday were Singapore Airlines and AirAsia.