Manila/Kuala Lumpur 14 January 2020 – Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated after Taal volcano in Batangas, the Philippines, began spewing ash on 12 January and lava in the early hours of 13 January.
The Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology raised the volcano’s alert level to four out of a maximum of five, prompting precautionary evacuations of people living in a danger zone. Almost 25,000 people are now in more than 120 evacuation centres. More than 450,000 people live within the 14-kilometre danger zone and could be displaced by a hazardous eruption, which is possible within hours or days.
Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said:
“I’m not trying to scare everybody, but we are preparing for the worst. The possibility of an explosive eruption is high. The challenge right now is taking care of many evacuees. Even more people need to be evacuated.
“We urge people living in the danger zone to evacuate and follow evacuation orders issued by the authorities. Bring your animals and livestock to evacuation centres if you must. The Philippine Red Cross is working round the clock to assess and meet the needs of affected communities.”
The Philippine Red Cross has been providing services and emergency items to people in evacuation centres through deploying ambulances, giving out dust masks, providing hot meals, water, sanitation and hygiene, and offering psychosocial support and child-friendly spaces.
Acting Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Country Office, Patrick Elliott said:
“This is an uneasy time for thousands of people living near Taal volcano. Almost 25,000 people have managed to evacuate very quickly but more are at risk if the activity escalates into a major eruption.”
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.
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