Taal Volcano: Philippines prepares for ‘explosive’ volcanic eruption as 45,000 evacuated
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    Taal Volcano: Philippines prepares for ‘explosive’ volcanic eruption as 45,000 evacuated

    Schools in the vicinity of the volcano, government offices and the Philippine Stock Exchange remained closed on Monday as a precautionary measure. Credit: Belga

    The Taal volcano erupted on Monday spewing lava and a huge column of ash and smoke south of the Philippine capital, where hundreds of international flights have been cancelled for fear of an imminent “explosive” eruption.

    In Calamba, south of Manila and north of the volcano, a man died in a car accident, blinded by a shower of ash. Three people were also injured, police said.

    Authorities have already evacuated 45,000 people, including tourists.

    The volcano, which is located in the middle of a crater lake in a popular tourist area, is one of the most active in the archipelago, which is an area of intense seismic activity because of its position on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

    Schools in the vicinity of the volcano, government offices and the Philippine Stock Exchange remained closed on Monday as a precautionary measure.

    The civil aviation authority said it was working to resume flights at Manila’s main international airport, which was closed on Sunday because of the risk to aircraft from ashes thrown into the air. About 240 flights were cancelled at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

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    The eruption began Sunday with an explosion of pressurized water vapour and rocks and the appearance of a 15-kilometre-high plume. On Monday morning, “fountains” of lava were visible on the volcano, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

    Authorities raised the alert to the second-highest level because of a risk of an “explosive” eruption that could occur in the next few hours or days.

    The Institute has identified more than 50 seismic tremors at this stage.

    The last Taal eruption occurred in 1977.

    The Brussels Times