Relief Pours in for Batangas
The Philippines’ Taal Volcano erupted on January 12, 2020 prompting the evacuation of more than 25,000 people and counting.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Taal has been under close monitoring since March 2019. Phreatic eruptions or steam blasts started on January 12 and further flung ash upwards 15 km. Heavy ashfall occurred around the lake while a large area of National Capital Region (NCR) and Central Luzon was placed on alert for ashfall.
Flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Clark International Airport (CRK) were grounded during the day of the eruption. CRK was quick to resume normal operations and NAIA took care before going back to full operating status.
Lava fountains were sighted in the early morning of January 13. Earthquakes persisted around the area since the eruption, a normal occurrence during volcanic activity.
Government and non-government organizations were quick to provide assistance and relief. Evacuation was started before Alert Level 4, signalling imminent eruption, was raised.
Neighboring provinces also corralled relief goods to be brought to affected areas. Cough medicine, anti-allergens, diapers, and clean water are being prioritized.
Thousands of horses, cattle, and domestic animals were left behind during the hastened evacuation. Rescue efforts have been organized by different animal rights organizations.
As of January 21, ground-level volcanic activity has lessened but PHIVOLCS maintained that Taal is still active, citing continued underground magma activity. Earthquakes have also caused kilometer-long fissures. Alert level 4 is still raised but some local government units have expressed their insistence to go back to their homes.