By Sam Wong
Authorities in the Philippines have urged almost half a million people to leave their homes after the Taal volcano began erupting dramatically in the province of Batangas on Sunday.
Taal is situated on an island in a large lake around 70 kilometres south of Manila, the country’s capital. Around 6000 people live on the island and have been taken to evacuation centres, along with a further 10,000 people who live nearby.
Tremors and booming sounds were reported in the area on 12 January as a large plume of ash rose from the volcano. Lava began flowing this morning, accompanied by thunder and lightning.
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There have been no immediate reports of injuries or damage, but ash from the volcano forced Manila’s international airport to suspend flights.
Authorities today requested the evacuation of everyone within 17 kilometres of the volcano, an area with 450,000 inhabitants.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned that an explosive eruption is possible within hours or days, and that falling debris in the lake could cause a tsunami.
Taal is the country’s second most active volcano, and has had 30 recorded eruptions in the last 500 years.
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