Philippines raises volcano danger level, residents urged to evacuate

TED ALJIBE / AFP

Philippine volcanologists raised on Thursday the alert status of a volcano near the capital Manila, after it spewed a 1 km high plume of gases and steam.

The alert for the Taal volcano, about 70 km (45 miles) south of central Manila, was raised to level 3 from level 2 which "means that there is magmatic intrusion at the main crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions," the seismology and volcanology agency said.

Water in Taal's crater boiled before and after its eruption.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of residents in the lakeside towns of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas province due to possible eruption hazards including a potential for a volcanic tsunami.

Taal is one of the world's smallest active volcanoes. Despite standing at only 311 metres (1,020-foot), it can be deadly, as an eruption in 1911 killed more than 1,300 people.

It spewed clouds of ash in January last year, prompting the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.

Residents have previously been banned from living in the vicinity of Taal, which sits in the middle of a lake about 70 km (45 miles) from Manila.

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