MANILA - More than 4,000 people remain in evacuation centers in Batangas province a week since magmatic unrest was reported in Taal Volcano that prompted its alert status to be raised to Level 3, the regional disaster office said Sunday.
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Calabarzon said in its latest situational report early Sunday that 4,135 individuals are still staying in 21 evacuation centers located in Lemery, Agoncillo, and Laurel towns in Batangas.
Taal Volcano was placed on Alert Level 3 last March 26 after its "main crater generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst," with plumes reaching as high as 1,500 meters.
As a result, Phivolcs recommended that Taal Volcano Island and the high-risk barangays of Bilibinwang and Banyaga in Agoncillo, and Boso-boso, Gulod and eastern Bugaan East in Laurel be evacuated “due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should stronger eruptions” occur.
Cumulatively, up to 5,261 people have sought temporary shelter in 25 evacuation centers since the crisis started anew last weekend, the RDRRMC report showed.
There are also 4,982 others who are currently staying with their relatives and friends, mostly in Batangas, the report added. A few of them are in Tagaytay City and Calamba City.
The RDRRMC said a total of 3,068 families or 10,415 people from 20 barangays in Batangas have been affected by the Taal Volcano phreatomagmatic bursts.
Some P2.6 million worth of assistance have been provided, the report said.
In its 8 a.m. bulletin on Sunday, Phivolcs said that during the last 24 hours, Taal Volcano’s main crater was monitored with upwelling of hot volcanic fluids in its lake which generated 900-meter-tall plumes that drifted southwest.
Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of the Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD), said in a press conference after the March 26 phreatomagmatic burst of Taal that the volcano’s alert status may be lowered a step down if no phreatomagmatic activity occurs in the next two weeks.
Some phreatomagmatic bursts were recorded days after the March 26 event.
Phivolcs officials have said it is unlikely for Taal Volcano to erupt as strong as it did in January 2020 based on latest indicators.