14 Batangas towns on lockdown amid Taal Volcano unrest

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2020 02:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2020 03:05 PM

MANILA—Local authorities have placed 14 towns in Batangas province on lockdown amid Taal Volcano's continued unrest.

Batangas Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Lito Castro said Friday villagers within the 14-kilometer radius danger zone were not allowed to return to their homes.

Here are the affected areas earlier identified by state seismologists as susceptible to ballistic projectiles, base surges and volcanic tsunami in case of a major eruption:

  • Agoncillo
  • Alitagtag
  • Balete
  • Cuenca
  • Laurel
  • Lemery
  • Malvar
  • San Nicolas
  • Santa Teresita
  • Taal
  • Talisay
  • Portions of Lipa
  • Portions of Mataasnakahoy
  • Portions of Tanauan

Due to the threat of a major eruption, thousands of residents were evacuated and are temporarily staying in evacuation centers, Castro told DZMM.

Others sought refuge with relatives in neighboring provinces, he added.

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As of 6 a.m. Friday, there were 15,047 families or 66,262 people staying in some 283 evacuation centers in Batangas and Cavite, data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed.

As temporary shelters were getting more crowded, Castro said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would mobilize "camp managers." 

"Sadyang ginagawa ng national government na maglagay ng magma-manage para malunasan ang ganitong problema," he said.

(The national government wants to deploy camp managers to solve this kind of problem.)

Health authorities, he said, had also responded to the medical needs of evacuees.

"Ang bilin po ngayon ay 'yong mga nagkakasakit dalhin agad sa ospital para 'yong mga minor illness i-cure doon sa evacuation," Castro said.

(We are told to bring the sick immediately to the hospital while those with minor illness can be treated in evacuation centers.) 

If the Taal Volcano unrest continues, Castro feared they would not have enough funds to sustain the relief efforts.

"Ating natatanaw na problema kapag nga ito ay tumagal ay sigurado pong magkukulang ang ating mga resources," he said.

(If this will continue, for sure, our resources will not last.)

The Taal Volcano remains under the second highest danger level, which means a "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days."

The volcano, which is among 24 active volcanoes in the Philippines and has not had an eruption since 1977, sent a massive plume of ash and steam on Sunday, with the gray shower reaching as far as Metro Manila.