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Desolate images from Taal volcano show horses and cows buried in ash

January 16, 2020 11:57 am

Images from the erupting Taal volcano in the Philippines show a desolate landscape of destroyed houses and snapped trees covered in a thick layer of heavy ash.

Half-buried bodies of horses and cows that could not escape the island lay in black sludge or floating in the surrounding lake.

Ignoring government warnings to keep away, a number of residents who lived by the foot of the volcano have gone back to tend or rescue their animals.

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Stark pictures show pigs, horses, cows and birds — their hair, fur and feathers coated with thick ash — being carried to relative safety, while Taal volcano, the second-most active in the Philippines, smoulders in the background.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said Wednesday morning that the volcano remains at alert level four out of a possible five, meaning an “explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.”

The volcano, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of the capital Manila on the island of Luzon, began erupting on Sunday, sending ash up to nine miles (14 kilometers) into the air and prompting large-scale evacuations.

Mirra Lipaopao, 27, said she didn’t hear the rumblings of the volcano but at around 5 p.m. saw the mud and charcoal-like matter rain down.

“I panicked,” she told CNN from a gymnasium that has been turned into an evacuation center in Tanauan. “I grabbed my partner and kid to get out of the house and we just ran as far as we could.”

Lipaopao said they went back to their home on Monday and found it was covered in ash and mud. They began cleaning but successive tremors jolted the ground so they returned to the shelter.

Three days after the eruption began, volcanic activity around Taal is ongoing. Fountains of lava generate dark gray, steam-laden plumes up to 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) high. Fissures or cracks have opened up in several areas and 466 earthquakes have been recorded since Sunday.

Volcanologists warn that further eruptions are possible.

“These new strong, continuous earthquakes that we are now experiencing are due to fissuring, which means that there really is magma that is still making its way out of Taal,” Mariton Bornas, chief of volcano monitoring and eruption at PHIVOLCS said on Tuesday.

 

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