Joint Task Group Taal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
MANILA - Taal Volcano continued to spew steam Friday morning as authorities warned of a potential catastrophic eruption despite a lull in belching ash.
Aerial footage taken by the Joint Task Group Taal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Friday morning showed the volcano spewing a white cloud of steam from its main crater, 5 days after belching a giant ash cloud 55,000 feet into the sky.
BGen. Marceliano Teofilo, commander of Task Force Taal, said aerial reconnaissance Friday morning showed houses covered in volcanic ash and about 100 animals, including horses and cattle, still scattered around the island.
More than 57,000 people have abandoned homes on the volcanic island and its environs, usually thronged by tourists, but many have also drifted back to check on animals and possessions.
Officials earlier said there were at least 3,000 horses living on the island, most earning money for their owners by carrying tourists to the rim of the volcano crater.
Taal's last eruption was in 1977, but it has a long history of activity. In 1965 an eruption at the volcano, which is a popular tourist attraction set in a picturesque lake, killed some 200 people.
The country's most powerful explosion in recent years was the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, about 100 kilometers northwest of Manila, which killed more than 800 people. With a report by Reuters/Agence France-Presse