Restive Taal Volcano prompts preemptive evacuations

Restive Taal Volcano in Batangas has prompted state authorities to implement preemptive evacuation of people Tuesday morning in the areas surrounding it.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the evacuation initiatives in the Taal Volcano Island are preemptive measures.

NDRRMC deputy spokesperson Mark Cashean Timbal in a message to reporters, however, clarified that only fish pen workers and families tending animals on the island were evacuated.

Timbal said evacuations were ordered due to the increase in volcanic activity, adding that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also evacuated some families who have returned to the island since Taal Volcano’s status was lowered to Alert Level 1 on March 19, 2020.

The PCG said at least 60 individuals have been evacuated and the number may yet increase as the evacuation is still ongoing.

With the help of Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Talisay town, and the Talisay Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), the PCG Barangas deployed five water assets to conduct the preemptive evacuation.

“Liban sa pagpapalikas sa mga residente, ininspeksyon din ang paligid ng isla para makapagsagawa ng karagdagang precautionary measure sa mga susunod na oras at araw 

The PCG said that aside from the evacuation of residents, the areas surrounding the island is also being inspected to allow for additional precautionary measures in the coming hours and days. The evacuated people were taken to the  Social Welfare and Development Office in Talisay.

Timbal assured the Batangas Provincial DRRM Council remains on top of the situation while the Calabazon Regional DRRM Council stands by and is ready to support when called for.

He said the NDRRMC constantly monitors the situation together with the Batangas PDRRM Council.

Taal Volcano erupted on Jan. 12, 2020, spewing ashes across Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and some parts of Central Luzon and Ilocos Region. Its previous eruption was in 1977.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said seismic activity and changes in Taal Volcano’s main crater lake have been observed on Monday despite the volcano being under alert level 1.

Phivolcs said it has recorded 50 weak tremor episodes  from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. last Monday, occurring at shallow depths. Seismic activity describes earthquake occurrences in the volcano.

The agency said it has also logged 68 shallow tremor episodes in the volcano island since February 13, which tremors signal increased hydrothermal activity beneath Taal Volcano island.