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Volcano eruption shuts down Philippine capital. Mass evacuations underway

PortandTerminal.com, January 13, 2020

The Taal Volcano in the Philippines erupted Sunday, covering the area in ash and causing the suspension of flights and mass evacuations. President Duterte has called on the private sector to suspend work.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Schools and businesses shut across the Philippine capital on Monday as a volcano belched clouds of ash across the city and seismologists warned an eruption could happen at any time, potentially triggering a tsunami.

People in Cavite Province look skyward as the Taal Volcano spews ash into the air, on Sunday, January. 12. Photographer: Kester Ragaza/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Philippine authorities have urged a “total evacuation” of almost half a million people near the capital Manila, which is only 37 miles away, reports CNN. Experts believe anyone within 9 miles of the volcano is in immediate danger. At least 10,000 people have already sought refuge in evacuation centres.

Filipinos walking through muddy street being directed by masked official as they evacuate
People closer to the volcano under total evacuation order.

Schools and government offices were closed on official orders. The stock exchange suspended trading and many private businesses shut for the day too. There is no indication at this time on the status of the Port of Manila, which is 39 miles away from the volcano and outside the evacuation zone. Manila is also a popular destination for a number of cruise lines including Holland America and Celebrity Cruises.

After a cleanup and a shift of ash-laden winds away from Manila, officials partially reopened the main airport and allowed planes to take off. President Rodrigo Duterte’s aircraft was able to land in Manila on Monday from his hometown of Davao, his spokesman said, adding he saw the extent of the disaster from the plane.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths or major damage directly blamed on the eruption.

Local authorities have issued a level four alert for the Taal, meaning an “explosive eruption” could take place at any time.

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