Thousands of families were evacuated and neighboring communities advised to take extreme precautions as the Taal volcano began to spew steam and sulfuric ash on Sunday, January 12, 2020, at around 1:00 p.m. The eruption is affecting several provinces in the southern Luzon area in northern Philippines.
The island volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, sits in the middle of the caldera and offers a breathtaking sight when viewed from the Tagaytay ridge in Cavite, in the northern part of the Philippines.
Several Adventist institutions are approximately 13 miles (20 kilometers) from the crater. The Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) headquarters, the Adventist World Radio Center for Digital Evangelism (AWR-CDE) office, the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) campus, the Adventist University of the Philippines, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Philippines, the 1000 Missionary Movement headquarters, the Cavite Adventist Mission office, and several churches are all blanketed by ashes from the volcano. Work was suspended Monday due to the disaster.
Currently, there are no reports of casualties from local government officials.
ADRA Philippines is now assessing the situation to find ways to effectively extend assistance to those affected by the eruption. Officials promised regular updates of the situation.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert level to level 4, which means a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days. Taal volcano displayed heightened activity beginning with an eruption of ash and steam reaching a kilometer above its crater.
PHIVOLCS reported 47 minor tremors as of Monday morning, January 13. Residents within an 8.5-mile (14-kilometer) radius of the volcano's crater were forced to evacuate due to a high risk of a volcanic tsunami and too much exposure to volcanic elements.
Local government units were mobilized to assist evacuation and the distribution of relief goods for families displaced by this calamity. It was reported that flight authorities in the capital, Manila, have put all flights on hold.