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Philippines’ Taal Volcano eruption triggers dozens of quakes and mass evacuation

January 13 Banepa.

A mass evacuation is underway in the Philippines, where an erupting volcano 65km south of the capital has triggered some 75 earthquakes and on Monday spewed lava and “ballistic fragments”, forcing the nation’s financial markets to suspend trading and Manila airport to close.

A “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days”, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said on Monday. Thousands of people have been evacuated since late Sunday, with plans to move as many as 200,000 people. Officials ordered schools and government offices shut, and advised private businesses to do the same. However, some residents refused to leave their homes and farms, officials said.

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“We have a problem, our people are panicking due to the volcano because they want to save their livelihood, their pigs and herds of cows,” Mayor Wilson Maralit of Balete said. “We’re trying to stop them from returning and warning that the volcano can explode again anytime and hit them.”

Maralit, whose town lies along the coastline of Taal Lake surrounding the erupting volcano, appealed for troops and additional police to be deployed to stop distraught residents from sneaking back to their high-risk coastal villages.

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