Philippines gets prepared for volcano eruption

22:15, June 10, 2010      

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The Philippine Coast Guard has sent 5 teams of divers and rescue swimmers with rubber boats, and medical teams to Batangas province which serves as the Coast Guard 's forward command post, as the alert level on Taal Volcano, about 65 km from Manila, increased, Coast Guard said Thursday.

The teams will be deployed primarily to help the Philippine Disaster Coordinating Council and provincial government in the early and voluntary evacuation of said affected families.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has also arranged 2 helicopters for dispatch in case necessary.

The Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers have likewise been alerted. in support of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council primarily to assist and render safe the families which are or may be directly affected in case of increased alert level on Taal Volcano.

PCG Batangas Station chief Lieutenant Commander Troy Cornelio said that he and officials of Batangas visited the Pulo Taal (Volcano Island) Wednesday and found unusual behavior of the Tail Lake, including the sudden rise of temperature in the water, discoloration of water inside crater and existence of steam surrounding the Tail's crater. There was also a smell of sulfur odor in the area.

More than 5,000 residents living near the Taal volcano were advised to leave their homes due to the recent volcanic activities in the area.

An Alert Level II was hoisted on Taal Volcano on Tuesday after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) detected 32 volcanic earthquakes.

"We are continuously observing and closely monitoring the situation and we will have a meeting tomorrow (Friday) with the PDCC," Batangas Vice Governor Jose Antonio said in a radio interview on Thursday.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Director Renato Solidum Jr. said earlier that the volcano's main crater is off limits to people because hazardous steam-driven explosions may occur, along with the possible build-up of toxic gases.

Taal Volcano, located on the island of Luzon in northern Philippines, is one of the 22 active volcanoes in the country, all part of the Pacific ring of fire.

The volcano has erupted violently several times, causing loss of life in the populated areas surrounding the lake. The current death toll standing at around 5,000 to 6,000. Because of its proximity to populated areas and eruptive history, the volcano has been designated a Decade Volcano worthy of close study to prevent future natural disasters.

Source: Xinhua


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