Two people have died from heart attack while fleeing from an erupting volcano near the Philippine capital of Manila, which has displaced more than 82,000 people, officials said yesterday.
Taal volcano in Batangas province, which is 66 kilometres south of Manila and located in the middle of a lake of the same name, started sporadically expelling ash on Sunday.
The victims were a 65-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man from the towns of Talisay and Taal in Batangas, the provincial disaster risk reduction office said.
The woman suffered cardiac arrest on Monday, while the man died on Tuesday, the office added.
Police earlier said that a truck driver died on Monday in nearby Laguna province when he lost control of his vehicle due to lack of visibility caused by heavy ash fall from Taal volcano’s eruption.
Residents were evacuated from towns in Batangas and the nearby province of Cavite, but some men stayed behind to watch over their properties and livestock.
Emergency teams, including police and soldiers, were deployed yesterday to make sure that everyone has left from high-risk areas, amid reports that some people have shunned official advice and returned home after staying in cramped evacuation centres.
“We need to enforce the evacuation order and to discourage people from coming back because it is very dangerous,” said Mark Leviste, vice governor of Batangas provinces.
“The ash fall from the eruption is very thick and some areas now look like deserts or ghost towns,” he added.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said it had monitored “continuous but generally weaker eruption of the main crater due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic processes” in the Taal volcano over the past 24 hours.
But the institute noted that huge road cracks and ground deformation in towns surrounding the volcano, hundreds of volcanic earthquakes and high sulphur dioxide emissions signified continuous magmatic movement that may lead to more eruptive events.
Phivolcs reiterated its recommendation for the total evacuation of the island and high-risk areas. “Alert level 4 still remains in effect over Taal volcano,” Phivolcs said in its latest bulletin.”This means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.”
“Phivolcs strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and high-risk areas...within the 14-kilometre radius from Taal main crater,” it added.
Taal volcano, the second most active volcano in the Philippines, has erupted 33 times since 1572.
Its last eruption was in October 1977, but it showed signs of unrest between 2008 and 2011, as well as in 2019.
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