Red-hot lava spewed from a volcano near the Philippine capital of Manila on Monday as tens of thousands of people fled through heavy ash and frightening tremors, and authorities made plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands more for fear of a bigger eruption.
Clouds of ash from the Taal volcano reached Manila, 65 kilometers (40 miles) to the north, on Sunday, forcing the shutdown of the country’s main airport, with more than 500 flights canceled. The airport partially reopened Monday after the ashfall eased.
There were no immediate reports of any deaths or major damage directly blamed on the eruption. The government’s disaster-response agency and other officials reported more than 30,000 villagers fled their homes in the hard-hit province of Batangas and nearby Cavite province. Officials expected the number to swell.
Frequent tremors and a buildup of pressure of the 1,020-foot (311-meter) volcano, one of the world’s smallest, however, indicated a major and much more dangerous eruption could still happen, he said. The volcano’s last disastrous eruption happened in 1965, when more than 200 people were killed.
About 20 typhoons and other major storms each year also batter the Philippines, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.
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