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Officials ban fishing near Taal's main crater

April 11, 2011 9:11am

Tags: Phivolcs
Local government officials in Batangas province have banned fishing around the main crater of restive Taal Volcano, after state volcanologists warned of a possible eruption there.

This developed as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned of possible "horizontal" eruptions along the volcano’s craters.

"Binawalan na sila ng ating pamahalaan. Pansamantala lang muna yan para di maapektuhan ang kalusugan ng ating mamamayan... pinagbawalan muna ang pangingisda at ang malapit sa bunganga," National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Benito Ramos said in an interview on dzBB radio Monday.

(Local officials in the province have temporarily banned fishing near the main crater. This is for the health of the fishermen and local residents near the main crater.)

Ramos said authorities have also closed off the Daang Kastila Trail and Mt. Tabaro, the site of Taal’s deadly eruption that killed some 300 people in 1965.

He said these three areas are possible areas of steam-driven explosions or accumulation of gases.

"Pati ang mga local at foreign tourist sinara ang Daang Kastila Trail, binawalan na sila at ang Mt. Tabaro, ang site ng 1965 explosion (Daang Kastila Trail and Mt. Tabaro were closed off to local and foreign tourists, because these have been identified as possible sites of steam-driven explosions of accumulation of gases)," he said.

He also said residents near the volcano’s main crater, many of them taking care of ducks, were urged to voluntarily evacuate their homes due to the smell of sulfur there.

So far, only 77 families have voluntarily left their homes last weekend, he said.

"May masangsang na amoy ng asukre (There is an acrid smell of sulfur in some areas)," he said.

Ramos said the NDRRMC and local disaster management officials have drawn up contingency plans for Taal, in case of a minor or major eruption.

He said the Office of the Civil Defense and the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Health (DOH), and Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are in on the contingency plans.

The local government officials of Talisay, Tanauan City, Laurel, Agoncillo, and Balete have also been alerted, he said.

No evacuation order yet

But Ramos said there is no evacuation order yet since it will be the Phivolcs that will give such an order.

"Wala pang evacuation orders ang kautusan ng Phivolcs, kay Director Solidum (There are no evacuation orders yet. It is the Phivolcs’ call)," he said.

For his part, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. said he expects contingency plans to be in place in Batangas.

"I would have expected matagal na pinaghandaan ito. Ilang beses nag-attempt ang Taal sumabog. What is needed is to review preparedness (I would have expected local authorities to prepare. Taal had attempted to erupt several times. What is needed now is to review our preparedness measures)," he said in a separate interview on dwIZ radio.

Meanwhile, Talisay town police chief Senior Inspector Manuel Maligaya urged some 2,600 residents near the volcano’s main crater to voluntarily evacuate.

"May nakahanda nang local government ng Talisay sa evacuation natin, aside doon may tourist police at complement ng barangay tanod at official (The local government of Talisay is ready for evacuation. Tourist police and a complement of village watchmen and officials are also ready to help)," he said.

Horizontal explosions

In a separate interview on dzBB, Solidum warned of possible horizontal explosions from Taal’s craters. He said Taal has as many as 43 craters.

"Kumbaga sa baril ... malawak ang bunganga ng baril na de-sabog, hindi lang vertical kkundi horizontal ang pag-itsa. Mas delikado yan kasi ang pyroclastic flow ng Taal gumagapang sa ibabaw ng tubig (It’s like a shotgun with a wide mouth. The pyroclastic flow may not just be vertical but also horizontal. That will pose a danger to areas near the volcano)," he said.

See the complete table on the Phivolcs website.

Solidum said they continue to monitor the volcano to see if the alert level, which now stands at "2," should be raised to "3" or even "4."

He said an alert level "3" means a possible eruption "within weeks to days," while alert level "4" means a possible eruption "within hours to days."

Signs of eruption

Solidum said the signs of magma climbing to the surface and leading to a possible eruption include:

  • Temperature rising at the crater lake.
  • Death of plants or vegetation near the crater lake.
  • Felt volcanic quakes. — RSJ, GMA News

  • Tags: Phivolcs

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