A crater lake and the nearby river on the Taal volcano dried up in signs of constant tranquility.
A Philippine volcano that erupted last weekend caused smaller ash plumes to blow up, but regularly shook with earthquakes on Thursday, forcing authorities to block access to nearby towns due to fear of a larger eruption.
A crater lake and the nearby river on the Taal volcano dried up in signs of constant rest, and officials have warned people against speculation that the five-day eruption is diminishing.
“We have an apparent silence, but again, as we emphasized earlier, something else is happening under the volcano,” Ma. Antonio Bornas of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told reporters, under constant vibrations, steaming and other signs of magma movement.
Renato Solidum, who heads the institute, said it can take up to two weeks for experts to assess whether the volcano’s restfulness has decreased. The language area is only one step lower than the highest level of a five-step alarm system that the institute uses to alert the public to the danger of a volcano.
Soldiers and police blocked villagers to go back to the island volcano and nearby towns to get stuff, poultry, and cattle.
Many houses and farms have been damaged by volcanic ash since the Sunday eruption, although no deaths or serious injuries have been reported after tens of thousands of people were evacuated.
A 65-year-old woman died of a heart attack while being moved from the city of Taal in Batangas province, but officials said she had been ill and possibly stressed by the disaster. The province of Batangas is located more than 65 kilometers south of the capital Manila.
Amid warnings of a possible threatening and more dangerous eruption, the police deposited at least four cities on the shores of a lake that surrounds the volcano. The move led to a fight with villagers.
“We’ve lost everything. Our house is damaged. But I have to pick up my pots and cookware and other things. They don’t have to be very, very strict,” said 59-year-old Erlinda Landicho.
Landicho, who fled with her son from the municipality of Lemery when the volcano erupted, was one of the many villagers who were stopped by the police to re-enter the town covered with ashes. A fire truck blocked an important access road and the police set up checkpoints. Beyond the barricade, Lemery looked like a ghost town, partially wrapped in swirling ashes.
More than 125,000 people fled their homes only in Batangas, which has declared a state of disaster to release emergency aid funds faster. According to a provincial disaster response agency, at least 373 evacuation sites were packed with displaced persons and needed more ash masks, portable toilets, bottled water and sleeping mats.
The main government disaster agency reported that just over 68,000 people were displaced by the eruption in the Batangas and Cavite provinces. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.
Cavite was also placed in a state of disaster after being flooded by thousands of displaced people from Batangas.
Among the displaced, there were around 5,000 people living on the island where the Taal volcano is located. The island is a popular tourist destination known for its breathtaking view of the crater lake of the volcano and the lush hills full of trees and birds. Some villagers stole past checkpoints to pick up some of the hundreds of cows and horses that they left behind, reinforcing the coast guard and police force cordon.
There are approximately four villages on the island, despite being a permanent danger zone. Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana has recommended that villagers cannot be returned.
The 3120 meter long Language is one of the world’s smallest volcanoes, but also the second most restive of about two dozen active volcanoes in the Philippines. The Southeast Asian archipelago is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the series of faults around the ocean basin where many of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions take place.