A volcanic eruption in the Philippines spewed hot lava and ash on Monday. Officials have now advised hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
The Taal volcano, which is the second most active volcano in the Philippines, sits 60 kilometres from the capital of Manila. It began erupting on Sunday, shooting ash and pebbles into the air, blanketing Manila in smoke and forcing the international airport to close. By Monday evening local time, over 16,400 people fled to the temporary evacuation centres that authorities set up, CNN reports, and the nation’s disaster-response said at least 30,000 people had fled their homes.
The eruption has created strange and scary scenes across the region. Some captured footage of the volcanic lightning inside the plumes of black smoke.
A thick layer of ash covered streets like grey snow and filled the air with toxic dust, making it difficult to breathe. The price of face masks has jumped by almost 10 times, ABS-CBN reports.
Some tried to get on with their lives with the dramatic explosion in the background.
Though there have been no casualties or major damage documented yet, the province of Batangas, where the volcano is located, has declared a state of calamity.
And the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology says it’s not over yet. They’ve called for the total evacuation of the nearly half a million residents within a 17-kilometre radius of the volcano.
The institute has raised the alert level to four out of five—and five means an eruption is currently taking place—because they say “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.” Explosive eruption means ash and lava could shoot out in bursts instead of oozing out slowly.
Though the Taal is one of the world’s smallest volcanoes, it’s one of the Philippines’ most active. The volcano has violently erupted before. In 1754, it erupted for six months straight, and an eruption in 1965 killed 190 people.