Volcano stops flights to Manila
– Lava and broad columns of ash illuminated by lightning spewed from a volcano south of the Philippine capital yesterday, grounding hundreds of flights as authorities warned of a possible “explosive eruption”.
Fine grit coated homes and streets across the region surrounding the Taal volcano, which burst to life on Sunday, accompanied by a series of earthquakes, forcing at least 10 000 people to seek refuge in evacuation centres.
“You could not sleep any more, because every time you closed your eyes, the house would shake,” restaurant owner Lia Monteverde said, saying the quakes came minutes apart. “All of us didn’t sleep at all. We just prepared to leave.”
Taal sits in a picturesque lake and is one of the most active volcanoes in a nation where earthquakes and eruptions are a frightening and destructive part of life.
The Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide deep below the Earth’s surface. Dust masks sold out in stores as authorities warned the ash could cause respiratory problems. Limited flight operations resumed at midday yesterday at Manila’s main international airport, nearly a day after authorities halted them due to the safety risk volcanic ash poses to planes.
The eruption began with an explosion of superheated steam and rock, but yesterday “fountains” of lava were spotted on Taal, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.