Evacuations as lava gushes from Philippine volcano, ash reaches capital Manila

A view of a lightning strike over Taal Volcano during an eruption, in Talisay, Batangas, Philippines, 12 January 2020. Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate as the authorities in the Philippines raised the alert due to increased activity of Taal volcano, located on an island near Manila. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert level from 1 to 3 - on a scale of 5 - after an increase in activity in the crater resulted in an eruption spewing steam and ash up to one-kilometer-high. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R MALASIG

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Red-hot lava gushed out of a Philippine volcano Monday after a sudden eruption of ash and steam that forced villagers to flee and shut down Manila’s international airport, offices and schools.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage from Taal volcano’s eruption south of the capital that began Sunday. But clouds of ash blew more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) north, reaching the bustling capital, Manila, and forcing the shutdown of the country’s main airport with more than 240 international and domestic flights cancelled so far.

An alternative airport north of Manila at Clark freeport remained open but authorities would shut it down too if ashfall threatens flights, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said.

Taal Volcano eruption in Tagaytay City
A motorcycle rider navigates through a muddy road after a volcano eruption in Talisay, Batangas, Philippines, 13 January 2020. . EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

The government’s disaster-response agency reported about 8,000 villagers have moved to at least 38 evacuation centers in the hard-hit province of Batangas and nearby Cavite province, but officials expect the number to swell with hundreds of thousands more being brought out of harm’s way.

Evacuations underway as Taal Volcano spews giant ash column in the Philippines
An ash column from erupting Taal Volcano looms over Tagaytay city, Philippines, 12 January 2020. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Some residents could not move out of ash-blanketed villages due to a lack of transport and poor visibility. Some refused to leave their homes and farms, officials said.

Read more via AP

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