Taal volcano begins spewing lava in Philippines as authorities warn of 'imminent hazardous eruption'

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Olivia Kinsley

Lava has begun spewing from a volcano in the Philippinesas authorities warn of "an imminent hazardous eruption".

It comes a day after the Taal volcano began emitting clouds of ash and steam.

Tens of thousands of people have evacuated from the lake island the volcano is on and the surrounding area, which is around 40 miles south of the capital, Manila.

Some officials reported residents could not move away from threatened villages due to a lack of transport and poor visibility, while others refused to leave their homes and farms.

A family walks along a road covered with ash from Taal volcano in Tagaytay, Cavite province. Credit: AP

Timelapse footage from nearby Cuenca, in Batangas province shows volcanic lightning streaking up the massive ash plume in a rare phenomenon where the volcano creates its own lightning storm.

  • Video captures the rare phenomenon of volcanic lightning at the Taal volcano eruption. Video credit: @spoky_who

On Sunday, the government volcano-monitoring agency raised the danger level around Taal three notches to level four, indicating "an imminent hazardous eruption."

Level five, the highest, means a hazardous eruption is underway and could affect a larger area with high-risk zones that would need to be cleared of people, said Renato Solidum, who heads the institute.

All departing and arriving international and domestic flights were suspended on Sunday at Manila's international airport after clouds of ash from the volcano reached the capital 65 kilometers away.

The airport partially reopened on Monday after the ashfall eased.

About 13,000 locals have been moved to at least 38 evacuation centres in provinces nearby the volcano, but officials expect the number to swell to the hundreds of thousands.

There have been no immediate reports of any deaths or major damage directly blamed on the eruption.

A truck, however, skidded out of control on an ash-blanketed road, killing the driver and injuring three companions in Laguna province in an accident police said may have been linked to slippery conditions.

A man walks through a cloud of volcanic ash as he evacuates. Credit: AP

On Monday, the ash and steam column reached a height of two kilometres (about a mile), with lava fountains spurting less than half of that height before falling into the lake waters surrounding the main crater.

“We have a problem, our people are panicking due to the volcano because they want to save their livelihood, their pigs and herds of cows,” mayor Wilson Maralit of Balete town told DZMM radio.

“We’re trying to stop them from returning and warning that the volcano can explode again anytime and hit them.”

A man takes a selfie as Taal Volcano spews ash Credit: Aaron Favila/AP

Philippine Institute Of Volcanology and Seismology asked nearby coastal communities around Lake Taal “to take precautionary measures and be vigilant of possible lake water disturbances related to the ongoing unrest”.

Authorities recorded a swarm of earthquakes, some of them felt with rumbling sounds, and a slight inflation of portions of the 1,020ft volcano ahead of Sunday’s steam-driven explosion, officials said.

Residents are evacuated from Tagaytay, Cavite province Credit: AP

One of the world’s smallest volcanoes, Taal is among two dozen active volcanoes in the Philippines, which lies along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismically active region that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

The volcano's last disastrous eruption happened in 1965, when more than 200 people were killed.

About 20 typhoons and other major storms each year also lash the Philippines, which lies between the Pacific and the South China Sea, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.