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Here Comes the Lava: 500K Filipinos Told to Evacuate

Small but dangerous Taal volcano erupts
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2020 12:18 PM CST
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A man walks through thick ash on a road from the Taal volcano in Lemery, Batangas, in the southern Philippines on Monday.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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(Newser) – At a modest 1,020 feet, the Taal volcano in the Philippines is one of the world's smallest, notes the AP. But because so many people live nearby, it's also considered one of the world's most dangerous, a volcanologist tells CNN. Nearly half a million people near Manila can now attest to that, as they've been urged to evacuate. The volcano on the island of Luzon, about 40 miles south of the capital city, began erupting Sunday, reports New Scientist. Huge plumes of ash have sent about 30,000 people closest to the volcano in Batangas and Cavite provinces fleeing to safer ground. But lava began spewing from Taal on Monday, and authorities are worried that a larger eruption is imminent. They've requested a "total evacuation" of everyone within a radius of 10.5 miles.

Meanwhile, transportation is difficult because of fallen ash, and some people are refusing to leave. "We have a problem—our people are panicking due to the volcano because they want to save their livelihood, their pigs and herds of cows," says Mayor Wilson Maralit of the town of Balete. "We're trying to stop them from returning and warning that the volcano can explode again anytime and hit them." No deaths or major damage have yet been reported in the new eruption. The nation's main airport, in Manila, shut down Sunday but has partially reopened since then. The volcano's last major eruption occurred in 1965, when more than 200 people were injured. (Read more volcanoes stories.)

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