A volcano in the Philippines has begun spewing lava, as authorities warn that a “hazardous eruption” is possible “within hours or days”.
In the early hours of Monday weak lava began flowing out of Taal volcano- located some 70km (45 miles) south of the capital Manila.
It comes after it emitted a huge plume of ash triggering the mass evacuation of 8,000 people from the area.
Taal is the Philippines’ second most active volcano.
Situated on an island in the middle of a lake, it is one of the world’s smallest volcanoes and has recorded at least 34 eruptions in the past 450 years.
Phivolcs has now raised the alert level from 3 to 4, out of a maximum of 5.
Authorities have also warned of a possible “volcanic tsunami”, which can be trigged by falling debris after an eruption, pushing the water and generating waves.
‘Covered in ash’
On Sunday, the volcano emitted a giant plume of ash, with rumbling sounds and tremors also reported.
A total of 75 earthquakes have occurred in the Taal region, with 32 of these earthquakes ranking II and higher on the earthquake intensity scale, said Phivolcs.
The Official United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said more than 450,000 people are estimated to living within the 14km (miles) danger zone of the Taal volcano.
‘Grey and lifeless’
As we approached the Taal volcano area this morning we saw local residents shovelling thick wet ash from the roads. Pineapple groves, normally verdant and luscious, now looked grey and lifeless.
In the distance Taal continued to billow ash and smoke miles into the sky. As the morning went on the ash clouds became darker.
Police manning a 14 km exclusion zone stopped people from travelling into the area close to the volcano, but there was a steady flow of cars and trucks moving out.
On the back of one pick-up truck I saw a large family with their treasured household possessions. They were moving in the direction of the Philippine capital Manila, where many people are choosing to stay with relatives.Earthquakes and volcanic activity are not uncommon in the Philippines, which lies along the Ring of Fire – a zone of major seismic activity which has one of the world’s most active fault lines.