Thousands of Batangas residents flee homes amid Taal Volcano unrest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 13)— Thousands of residents in Batangas have fled their homes as of Monday noon following Taal Volcano’s steam-driven eruption, local officials confirmed.

Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office chief Lito Castro told CNN Philippines that 2,890 families— or over 16,000 individuals— have already been evacuated from danger zones and affected areas in the province as of midday.

Castro added the residents were moved to the 56 active evacuation centers in nearby cities in Batangas.

The Office of Civil Defense-CALABARZON earlier implemented forced evacuation measures in several areas in the province as well as in nearby Tagaytay, after Alert Level 4 was raised over Taal— which started showing signs of marked unrest on Sunday afternoon.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned of a possible “hazardous explosive eruption” soon, and recommended that residents within a 14-kilometer radius of the volcano’s crater be evacuated.

Power outage and tremors have been experienced in Batangas following the volcano’s eruption. The eruptive activity has also sent ash falling in nearby provinces— including in parts of Metro Manila.

The Batangas provincial government has since called for donations for evacuees— including N95 masks, drinking water, clothes, food, and gasoline, which will be used for vehicles for evacuation and rescue operations.