Families start to flee Taal Volcano; but others opting to stay put
But others refuse to leave for livelihood’s sake
MANILA, Philippines - At least 17 families, or 77 individuals, living within the 7-kilometer radius danger zone near Taal Volcano have voluntarily evacuated.
However, the local government is having a hard time persuading the rest.
In an interview with ANC, Talisay, Batangas Mayor Zenaida Mendoza said “we are ready for anybody who will voluntarily evacuate the place, and we already prepared evacuation centers here in our mainland, Talisay.”
She said some of the families have proceeded to Venancio Trinidad Sr. Memorial School. Others went to stay with their relatives.
The families left after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) hoister over Taal Volcano alert level 2. The Main Crater Like has been releasing carbon dioxide over the past few days.
The Main Crater, Daang Kastila Trail and Mt. Tabaro (1965 Eruption Site) are now strictly off-limits because sudden hazardous steam-driven explosions may occur.
Mendoza said tourists are now prohibited from entering the above sites. “Here in the mainland we have no problem. It is business as usual…Tourists should not be afraid of staying in the mainland because really we are not affected by the alert level.”
In an interview with radio dzMM, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum explained the entire island has 40 craters. While the agency is monitoring the main crater, it is also possible that other craters would emit carbon dioxide.
This is precisely the reason why the entire Volcano Island has been recommended to become a Permanent Danger Zone.
Mendoza said there are about 2,250 residents there. “Although it is a permanent danger zone, we really cannot encourage people to leave the area because it is their source of living. The tourist visits in that area is almost 200-300 a day,” she added.
She said they are having a hard time persuading the families to leave “because the livelihood is there. Most of them are horseback riders, they assist the tourists going to the mountain, the main crater.”
A small eruption there happened in 1977. The last biggest recorded explosion was in 1965, wherein about 300 people died.