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Threat of possible hazard remains despite lowered alert status — Phivolcs

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By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz 

The areas in and near the Taal Volcano Island remain under the threat of possible hazards amid the lowering of the restive volcano’s alert status last Friday.

The main crater of the Taal Volcano is seen during an aerial survey done by government officials, more than a week after the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas. (Mark Balmores)

The main crater of the Taal Volcano is seen during an aerial survey done by government officials, more than a week after the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

In its bulletin on Saturday, Phivolcs continued to observe weak emission of steam-laden plumes that reached 50 to 100 meters high and drifted southwest in the past 24 hours.

However, sulfur dioxide emission was below instrumental detection due to weak volcanic plume activity.

The Taal Volcano network, meanwhile, recorded 77 volcanic earthquakes, signifying that magmatic activity beneath the volcano edifice can still lead to eruptive activity at its main crater.

Alert Level 2 is maintained over Taal Volcano but Phivolcs reminded the public that sudden steam-driven explosions, volcanic earthquakes, and ejection of ashfall or volcanic gas may still occur and affect areas in and near the Taal Volcano island.

Phivolcs reiterated that entry into the permanent danger is strictly prohibited.

The concerned local government units were advised to re-assess previously evacuated areas within the seven-kilometer radius for damages and road accessibilities. They were also recommended to strengthen preparedness, contingency, and communication measures in case of renewed volcanic unrest.

The public should observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, frequent ashfall and minor earthquakes.

Communities beside active river channels, especially those where ash from the main eruption phase has been thickly deposited, should increase vigilance when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall as the ash can be washed away and form lahars along the channels.

Likewise, civil aviation authorities were asked to advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and wind-remobilized ash may pose hazards to aircrafts.

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