Batangas has just declared a state of calamity given the Taal Volcano's increasing unrest. According to CNN, over 16,400 people have sought shelter in evacuation areas. Numerous reports have also showed neighborhoods in Batangas that are now covered in thick ash, while farther communities in Calabarzon and Metro Manila are also experiencing the effects of the ash plume.
Taal Volcano is still under Alert 4, as announced by PHILVOCS yesterday. This means that the volcano, currently spewing out weak lava, could explode within hours or days. It is a tragic period for the province of Batangas, which remains under the mercy of time.
According to Rappler, Taal Volcano is one of the lowest and deadliest volcanoes in the world. It has been active since 1512. The last three eruptions happened in 1970, 1976, and 1977—all three incidents were phreatic eruptions, meaning only preexisting rock fragments were released. The only recorded Strombolian eruptions, where lava flow was present, took place in 1968 and 1969.
Now, we are in the midst of another historic volcano eruption. Such an unprecedented impending calamity, when seen in light of other current tragedies such as Australia's bushfires and other volcanic eruptions across the globe, is a testament to the unfathomable—and uncontrollable—force of nature.
Here are some arresting photos that capture the eruption, its effects, and the need for collective action. For those who are currently affected by the ashfall or are in need of any help, please take the necessary measures and stay safe.