At least 40,000 people have been evacuated far from a Philippine volcano that could possibly erupt violently at any given time, authorities stated on Tuesday, January 14th.However, additional thousands are refusing to leave their homes, according to Reuters.
For the third day in a row, a cloud of ash and fountains of lava poured out of the crater of Taal, which is located in the middle of a lake almost 70km south of the centre of the Philippines capital Manila.
So far, all those who lived within 14km of the volcano have been ordered to leave, possibly around 300,000 people, though disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal said he believed the exact number of inhabitants in the area was less.
Officially, 38,200 have now been evacuated, the agency said.
On their side, local officials complained of how some people who stayed put led to complications in the evacuation process.
"I had to put Talisay under lockdown to prevent residents, who were already in the evacuation centres from returning," said Gerry Natanauan, mayor of one town that is close to the danger zone of the 311-metre volcano.
"They wanted to check their homes, possessions and animals, but they're not supposed to do that because it is very dangerous."
Although Taal is one of the world's smallest active volcanoes, it has a deadly history with an of eruption in 1911 which killed at least 1,300 people.
Authorities warned on Tuesday that Taal could gush lava and ash for weeks, which could signal the occurrence of a massive eruption, affecting the thousands of people who fled their homes.
On Sunday, January 12th, the volcano’s crater exploded, towering clouds of ash and lava, prompting those who lived in the region south of Manila to find safety.
"We left everything apart from what we're wearing," said Robert Cadiz, a 47-year-old fisherman among some 30,000 who took refuge in shelters. "We were terrified."