Philippines volcano: Ash and lava continues to spew as thousands flee

Thousands are fleeing homes as red-hot lava, ash and steam continues to flow from a volcano close to the Philippine capital Manila.

Some residents have decided to stay home with the aim of salvaging their home and possessions however there are fears dangerous eruptions could follow.

The Taal volcano rumbled into life on Sunday with authorities continuing to warn that a “hazardous eruption” is possible “within hours or days”.

The volcano, south of Manila, was spurting fountains of red-hot lava 500 metres into the sky on Tuesday with dark-gray plumes of ash-laden steam that reached more than a mile high.

Villages have been destroyed by ash plumes after a dangerous volcano eruption close to Manila. Credit: AP

More than 200 earthquakes have been detected in and around Taal, 81 of which were felt with varying intensities.

“Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

The government’s disaster-response agency counted more than evacuees in Batangas and nearby Cavite provinces, while officials expected this number to swell.

Leaving villages is proving difficult for residents, with ash severely reducing visibility. Credit: PA

Government work was suspended and schools closed in nearby towns and cities, including Manila, because of the health risks from the ash.

The small island where the 311 metre volcano lies has long been designated a “permanent danger zone,” though fishing villages have long existed there.

Taal’s last disastrous eruption, in 1965, killed hundreds of people.

People look from Tagaytay, Cavite province, south of Manila, as Taal Volcano continues to spew ash Credit: Aaron Favila/AP

It is the second-most restive of about two dozen active volcanoes in the Philippines, which lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where most of the world’s seismic activity occurs.

A long-dormant volcano, Mount Pinatubo, blew its top north of Manila in 1991 in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing hundreds of people.