Evacuation ordered as Philippine volcano ‘recharges’

21 January, 2020 12:00 AM printer

TANAUAN: Philippine authorities ordered a crackdown on Monday on evacuees’ daily visits to their homes in the danger zone around Taal volcano as scientists warned it could be “recharging” for a more powerful explosion, reports AFP.

More than 110,000 people have taken refuge in evacuation centres since Taal burst to life a week ago, but many hard-hit towns have let residents back for hours each day to fetch items, feed livestock and clean up their houses.

“We are directing DRRMCs (civil defence officers)... not to allow anyone to enter the danger zone,” said Epimaco Densing, undersecretary for the Department of Interior.

“It’s dangerous, that’s why we have imposed a lockdown,” he told reporters. The volcano shot ash 15 kilometres (nine miles) high in the January 12 eruption, which crushed scores of homes and killed livestock as well as crops.

However, seismologists have warned the volcano could imminently unleash a much bigger eruption, posing a deadly risk to anyone in the 14-kilometre radius “danger zone” that surrounds it.

Continued earthquakes and an increase in the volcano’s emission of sulfur dioxide gas were possible indications of a “recharge” of magna, which would drive a major blast, a top scientist said.

“We consider these are signs that there’s a re-supply of magma which could possibly... cause an eruption that could be strong,” Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines’ seismological agency, told a local radio station.