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ALERT LEVEL 2 STILL UP

Vulnerable folk urged to leave Taal Volcano

Kids, elderly, pregnant women told to evacuate

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has urged the vulnerable population living near Taal Volcano to evacuate immediately as the quakes produced by the restive volcano have increased in numbers and in intensity.

“We recommend the evacuation of children, old persons, and pregnant women,” Phivolcs research specialist Ed Villacorte said. He noted that able-bodied men have stayed in the villages near the volcano.

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“This means the volcano is still very active and Alert Level 2 remains hoisted over it,” he said.

Although the quakes have escalated, Villacorte said the agency had no plans to raise the alert level to 3 at present. “We will only do that if the quakes have reached Intensity IV to V,” he said.

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In an advisory issued yesterday, Phivolcs said it recorded 10 seismic activities in Taal Volcano.

“One of these events which occurred at 4:28 p.m. yesterday was felt by residents at Intensity III in Barangay Pira-Piraso and at Intensity II in Barangay Calauit,” Phivolcs said.

On Saturday, Phivolcs recorded 20 quakes in the past 24 hours. Although Sunday’s record was fewer, the earthquakes recorded were stronger, Villacorte said.

The Intensity III registered was by far the strongest felt earthquake since Phivolcs raised Taal’s alert level early this month.

Phivolcs has advised residents living near volcano island to evacuate as the quakes got stronger. The agency also noted that the gases emitting from the volcano are toxic.

“Breathing air with high concentration of gases can be lethal to humans, animals and even cause damage to vegetation,” Phivolcs said.

Phivolcs said Taal remained restive and on the verge of possible magmatic explosion as water temperature in the main crater continued to increase. As of yesterday, the temperature on the main crater lake heated up to 30.1 degrees Celsius from 29.8 degrees Celsius.

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The ground on volcano island also showed a slight deformation, which means that gas continued to push up, Phivolcs said.

In Batangas, more residents have decided to leave the Taal Volcano Island amid the continuing restive state of the volcano, said provincial information officer Ginette Segismundo.

A total of 232 families or 1,373 persons have so far evacuated to the mainland towns of San Nicolas, Balete and Mataas na Kahoy, or about double the number of families who had initially left the island since Alert Level 2 was hoisted on April 9.

Under Alert Level 2, the local government could not implement a forced evacuation but Segismundo said many residents have opted to leave the island to ensure their safety in case an eruption becomes imminent.

Of about 5,000 residents of the island, those who decided to evacuate are mostly staying with their relatives.

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TAGS: Safety of citizens, Volcanic activity
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