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500,000 residents to evacuate if ‘violent eruption’ occurs in Taal Volcano —NDRRMC

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National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Ricardo Jalad on Saturday said they are preparing for the evacuation of 500,000 individuals in case a “violent eruption" occurs in Taal Volcano.

“Based sa risk assessment, kung sakali na magkaroon ng violent eruption, sa risk map na ginawa ng PHIVOLCS, ang estimate na ililikas mula sa municipalities and cities of Batangas, including part of Tagaytay at Lemery, ay half a million,” Jalad said in a Dobol B TV interview.

(Based on our risk assessment, in case there is a violent eruption, we will evacuate half a million people according to the risk map that was created by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. These individuals will include residents from Tagaytay and Lemery.)

Apart from that, the NDRRMC is also preparing for the effects of the possible emission of poisonous gas, volcanic tsunami, and falling debris from Taal Volcano.

The NDRRMC chief said this is considered as the “worst case scenario."

As of now, he said they are doing calibrated response based on the assessment given by PHIVOLCS.

“So ‘yan ang worst case scenario but because of the improvement ng risk assessment capacity ng PHIVOLCS at monitoring, maaaring calibrated ang pagresponde,” he said.

(That is the worst case scenario. But because of the improvement of the risk assessment capacity of PHIVOLCS and their monitoring, we can now order a calibrated response.)

“At sa ngayon ang recommended ng PHIVOLCS na i-evacuate ay sa limang barangay ng Laurel at Agoncillo — ang mga lugar na pinakamalapit sa Taal Island,” he added.

(For now, PHIVOLCS has recommended the evacuation of residents from five barangays in Laurel and Agoncillo. These are the areas that are near the Taal Volcano Island.)

Jalad also mentioned that there are housing programs from the National Housing Authority that were offered to residents living on Taal Volcano Island after it had been declared as a Permanent Danger Zone.

However, he said there are some residents who did not accept the government’s offer because they are concerned about their livelihood.

On Saturday, PHIVOLCS said it maintains Alert Level 3 over Taal Volcano, as they reported seven volcanic earthquakes which occurred in the past 24 hours.

The Batangas Provincial Police Office last Wednesday said there are over 3,000 residents who have already evacuated from their homes ass Taal Volcano still shows activity that could drive an explosive eruption.

On July 1, the Taal Volcano erupted and its main crater generated a short-lived one-kilometer-high phreatomagmatic plume at 3:16 p.m. with no accompanying earthquake.

This prompted the PHIVOLCS to raise Alert Level 3 over Taal Volcano which means that it exhibits “magmatic unrest.” —KG, GMA News

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