Thousands of people are being evacuated on Sunday after authorities of the Philippines raise the alert for the increase of the activity of the volcano Taal, located on an island close to Manila. The Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Philippines went up today the alert from level 1 to 3 on a scale of 5 after it is detected an increase of activity in the crater and generated an eruption of smoke a kilometer in height. The column has caused the Ninoy Aquino International airport of Manila, located to the south of the capital, was announced at 18.27 local time (11.27 in Madrid) the suspension of all its flights, both arrivals and departures, due to the eruption of the volcano, whose crater out a huge column of smoke and ash.
Edit: Flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been temporarily suspended due to the volcanic ash from the eruption of Taal Volcano. Kindly coordinate with your respective air carriers for details on flight schedules.— NAIA (@MIAAGovPH) January 12, 2020
The authorities have started the evacuation of the municipalities of San Nicolas, Balete and Talisay, near the volcano, located 65 kilometers south of Manila, as confirmed by the spokesman of the National Council of Disaster Risk Reduction, Mark Timbal. According to data from 2017, the population of these three municipalities would be between 6,000 and 10,000 inhabitants.
The Philippine Red Cross has moved some of its personnel to the area to help with the work of evacuation. As told to several witnesses, the ash reached the southern districts of Manila such as Alabang, which is located 60 kilometers from the volcano. The Department of Health warned that exposure to ash can cause health problems, so they recommended that the inhabitants of the affected areas to avoid outdoor seating, and if they do use facemasks and goggles.
Thousands of tourists visit every year to the Taal and some excursions up to the crater, partly flooded, and it is easy to see small vents. The volcano, which killed 1,300 people in 1911, and 200 in 1965, is part of a volcanic chain that extends for the western region of the island of Luzon.