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26 Jan 2020 | 11:41 PM UTC

Philippines: Authorities lower Alert Level for Taal volcano as of January 26 /update 7

Taal volcano under Alert Level 3 as of January 26, 7 km (4.3 mi) radius danger zone still in place; avoid the area



The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) announced at 08:00 (local time) on Sunday, January 26, that it has lowered the status of the Taal Volcano in Batangas province to Alert Level 3 (third-highest on a five-tier scale) to reflect a decreased tendency towards hazardous eruption. Authorities are allowing previously-evacuated residents to return, except for those from Agoncillo and nearby Laurel. However, they are warning returnees to remain prepared to evacuate at short notice. PHIVOLCS also reduced the danger zone to a 7 km (4.3 mi) radius, down from the original 14 km (8.7 mi). The decision follows two weeks of less frequent volcanic earthquake activity across the Taal region, declining from 959 to 27 events per day between Sunday, January 12, and Friday, January 24. In the 24 hours preceding its 08:00 bulletin on Monday, January 27, PHIVOLCS observed weak to moderate emissions of steam between 50-800 m (164-2625 ft) high from the main crater and 170 volcanic earthquakes, including four low-frequency earthquakes. 

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), nearly 400,000 people have been affected since Taal's eruption on Sunday, January 12, and almost 137,447 remain in evacuation centers as of January 27.

Power outages and disruptions to transportation and business are expected to continue in the vicinity of Taal volcano over the coming days, particularly in the event of a hazardous eruption.


Individuals present in the affected area are advised to avoid the vicinity of the volcano, monitor the situation, confirm flight reservations, anticipate transportation, business, and power disruptions, adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders), and wear respiratory masks and covering clothing to protect skin from ashfall.