Taal may be considered one of the world’s smallest volcanoes, but when it erupted on Sunday afternoon, its giant plume of smoke and ash reached hundreds of miles, covering Calabarzon, Metro Manila and some parts of Central Luzon.
Ongoing phreatic explosion at the Main Crater of Taal Volcano. Photos taken from installed IP camera monitoring the activity of Taal Volcano. pic.twitter.com/9Qyd7aLvsJ
— PHIVOLCS-DOST (@phivolcs_dost) January 12, 2020
Thousands of villagers from the towns within the shores of Taal Lake were evacuated, while classes, work schedules and flights were suspended in the nearby regions, according to CNN.
Situated in Batangas, Philippines, Taal, the country’s second-most-active volcano is also considered among the world’s most dangerous due to the 450,000 residents living in its volcanic danger zone (10.5 miles radius around the volcano).
In the past 450 years, Taal Volcano has so far recorded at least 34 eruptions. The last eruption occurred in 1977, according to the BBC.
In 1754, Taal’s eruption lasted six months, while its deadliest on record left 1,335 people dead in 1911. When Taal erupted again in 1965, 190 people were killed, with minor eruptions occurring in the following years.
Immediately after its phreatic eruption — which occurs when cold groundwater comes in contact with hot rock or magma and produces steam — on Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) requested a “total evacuation” of everyone within the 10.5 miles radius, according to ABS-CBN.
— Kirk Martinez (@Wig2s4) January 12, 2020
The local seismology bureau raised Taal Volcano’s alert level from 2 to 4, indicating that a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days. According to the agency, almost a hundred minor earthquakes were recorded in the provinces of Cavite and Batangas since Taal’s eruption, Star reports.
Over 16,400 people were transported to temporary evacuation centers set up by the government, while others chose to travel to other parts of the country to stay with family or loved ones.
The Philippine army sent 20 military vehicles and 120 personnel to assist in the response and evacuation efforts. Meanwhile, organizations such as the Red Cross also provided assistance by sending supplies and additional vehicles for transport.
Social media users soon shared images from the aftermath on Sunday, showing roads and homes covered in black sludge, a mixture of ash and rain.
While there are no reported casualties, the eruption has resulted in the damage of crops and livestock in the affected regions amounting to 74.55 million Philippine pesos ($1.4 million), according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Feature Image via Getty