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LOOK: Signs of life amid scent of death on volatile Taal island

George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2020 02:32 AM

The eruption of Taal volcano on Sunday, January 12, forced the evacuation of thousands of Filipinos living in the vicinity. As desperate residents fled the area, they not only left their homes but they also left behind their animals.

The once idyllic spot has been transformed into a virtual ghost region, as poisonous ash blanketed vast tracts of land. 

Two days later, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, volunteers from the private sector, and some residents visited the area in hopes of finding survivors even as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council previously said that the plants and wildlife were already dead.

Thankfully, the persistence of the volunteers bore fruit as they were able to take several animals back to safety.

Here are some scenes from the rescue.

Plants and structures lie in ruins after Taal erupts. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

A column of smoke billows from Taal volcano. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

The once picturesque island now lies in ruin. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

A dog survives the eruption. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Members of rescue teams search for surviving animals. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Members of rescue teams search for surviving animals. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Rescue teams search for trapped animals near the crater of Taal Volcano. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Animals left behind are tied to fallen tree branches as their owners wait for boats to rescue them on the Taal volcano island. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Members of the MMDA K9 Corps search for surviving animals on the Taal volcano island. The team rescued 8 dogs, 4 ducks, and one pig. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

A dog is trapped on Taal volcano island covered with ash. Rescue teams found it hard to rescue animals, as they tended to run away as people got close to them. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Residents try to dig up their belongings under heaps of ash. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

A member of the MMDA K9 Corps takes a break after searching for animals. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

An ash-covered cow is tied to a tree as it awaits rescue. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Members of rescue teams search the island for surviving animals. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

A horse rests in the shade. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

A volunteer holds a rescued duck covered with ash. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Members of the MMDA K9 Corps pet rescued animals, including a dog (center) that was found struggling to remain afloat in the middle of Taal lake. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Residents come back and retrieve their livestock and usable belongings on the Taal volcano island. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Members of the MMDA K9 Corps attempt to rescue a pig. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Members of the MMDA K9 Corps give water to trapped animals. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Locals feed their horses retrieved from Taal volcano island. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Locals load their horses on boats, as they rescue them from the Taal volcano island. A number of horses, which were mainly used for tourist packages in the area, were killed after the volcano erupted. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

A residents transports a horse on a boat from Taal volcano island to Balete town in Batangas. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

An exhausted cow rests on the beach after being rescued. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Veterinarians tend to rescued animals in Balete town, Batangas. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News