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Is 14 kilometers safe? PHIVOLCS warns major eruption of Taal Volcano may reach farther

A view of the Taal volcano eruption seen from Tagaytay, Philippines January 12, 2020 in this still image taken from social media video. Jon Patrick Laurence Yen via REUTERS

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) advised the public to stay away as far as possible from Taal volcano as threat of a major eruption remains.

PHIVOLCS Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Maria Antonia Bornas stressed that the low-level activities and periodic lava fountaining episodes in Taal volcano can progress into a ‘explosive eruption’.

Kung ito ay lalala sa malakas na pagputok, makikita natin na yung ugali ay katulad nung unang bugso ng pagputok na matatayog yung eruption column,” Bornas explained during an interview with DZRH.

PHIVOLCS also warned of the dangers of base surges, which can reach coastal communities around Taal Lake.

Bornas mentioned that high-risk areas include the municipalities of Agoncillo, Laurel, Lemery, and San Nicolas in Batangas. She added the said areas have been hit by base surges during previous eruptions of Taal Volcano.

PHIVOLCS has already called for the total evacuation of Agoncillo, Laurel, Lemery, San Nicolas and other communites within a 14-kilometer radius from the main crater of Taal Volcano.

Kaya tayo nagpalikas ng hanggang sa 14 kilometro dito sa paligid ng bulkan dahil sa mga historical eruptions hanggang diyan ay naapektuhan ng base surge,” Bornas said.

However, she further warned that the damage of a major eruption by Taal volcano might not be limited to the 14 kilometer radius zone.

Maaring mas malakas pa kasi wala tayong datos kung hanggang saan yung pre-historical eruptions ng main crater. Maaring lumagpas ng 14 na kilometro,” Bornas said.

The PHIVOLCS official said that they might recommend increasing the evacuated area once they raise Alert Level 5 over Taal Volcano due to dangers presented by base surges and volcanic tsunamis.

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