Ash continues to spew from Taal volcano in Philippines as thousands flee

Authorities warn ‘hazardous eruption’ is possible ‘within hours or days’

Red-hot lava, ash and steam has continued to flow from a volcano near the Philippine capital as fears of a dangerous eruption have seen thousands leave their homes.

The Taal volcano rumbled into life on Sunday with authorities continuing to warn that a "hazardous eruption" is possible "within hours or days".

The volcano, south of Manila, was spurting fountains of red-hot lava 500 metres into the sky on Tuesday with dark-gray plumes of ash-laden steam that reached more than a mile high.

More than 200 earthquakes have been detected in and around Taal, 81 of which were felt with varying intensities.


“Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

The government’s disaster-response agency counted more than evacuees in Batangas and nearby Cavite provinces, while officials expected this number to swell.

Government work was suspended and schools closed in nearby towns and cities, including Manila, because of the health risks from the ash.

The small island where the 311 metre volcano lies has long been designated a “permanent danger zone,” though fishing villages have long existed there.

Taal’s last disastrous eruption, in 1965, killed hundreds of people.

It is the second-most restive of about two dozen active volcanoes in the Philippines, which lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where most of the world's seismic activity occurs.

A long-dormant volcano, Mount Pinatubo, blew its top north of Manila in 1991 in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing hundreds of people. – PA