1st LD Writethru: Philippines raises alert level to 3 over Taal volcano eruption, suspends flights

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MANILA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has raised the alert level to 3 over Taal Volcano after it rumbled back to life and spewed a column of ash one kilometer into the sky on Sunday.

The institute said that communities around the Taal Lake shore, which is located about 90 km south of Manila, are advised to take precautionary measures and be vigilant of possible lakewater disturbances related to the ongoing unrest.

In an advisory, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said that all flights, both arrival and departures, have been put on hold, following the eruption of the Taal Volcano.

"Passengers are advised to coordinate with their respective airlines for flight updates," the advisory said.

Taal volcano is the second most active volcano in the Philippines.

The PHIVOLCS urged the public to stay away from the volcano's main crater due to a possibility of steam explosion.

"The public is reminded that the main crater should be strictly off-limits because sudden steam explosions can occur and high concentrations of lethal volcanic gases can be released," the institute added.

It said the public is also reminded that the entire volcano island is a permanent danger zone (PDZ), and permanent settlement in the island is strongly not recommended.

"In view of the ongoing phreatic activity in the main crater, PHIVOLCS advises precautionary evacuation of Taal volcano Island pending observation of the volcano's condition within the next 48 hours," the institute added.

Since March 28, 2019, the institute said Taal volcano seismic network has manifested moderate to high level of seismic activity.

Mark Timbal, spokesman for the National Risk Reduction and Management Council, said up to 10,000 residents of three towns around the volcano will be evacuated as a result of the explosion. Enditem

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