Taal Volcano is located on the island of Luzon, about 100 km south of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and is the second most active volcano in the country. After months of seismic inactivity, since last Sunday it has been erupting, emitting not only smoke and ashes but also lava flows.

Dead trees close to the province of Batangas, Philippines, January 17th, 2020
(Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

This led the Philippine authorities to evacuate the approximately 50,000 people who live in dangerous areas, especially in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite, and to set up 200 camps to accommodate them.

After an apparent pause in the volcano’s eruptive activity, many internally displaced people wanted to return home, but the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported that the risk of larger and more dangerous eruptions is still high, stating that, in the case of an eruption, “magma will rise faster because there is nothing to stop it from doing so. Whatever was blocking it before has been removed. ” The situation, therefore, remains dramatic, with entire areas covered by ashes.

All this is having negative repercussions both on the country’s economy but also on the lives of citizens affected by this disaster.

As for the economic repercussions of the event, the Philippine government estimated that the eruption would already have caused damage to agriculture, livestock, and fishing for over 53 million euros.

From a human point of view, humanitarian organizations that are operating on the field said that some evacuation centers are in a deplorable state and people sleep on the “cold and hard floor without mats”. The sudden evacuation prevented people from carrying blankets, essential hygiene items, mosquito nets and baby items such as diapers, besides the fact that many of the evacuated young children suffer from respiratory diseases such as cough and cold and, given the large number of people present in emergency structures, these diseases spread rapidly.

In our case, as already mentioned on Facebook, we were forced to suspend the work in the 13 schools of Mindoro Island, and our project manager in charge, Anna Orlando, had to evacuate the area following the invitation of the Italian government to “avoid displacements near the regions of Batangas and Cavite, where the state of natural disaster was declared due to the presence of ash clouds, which can cause respiratory problems”.

We hope that the situation will return to normal soon and that we will be able to start our work again, but above all that the Filipinos will be able to come back to their homes with the serenity and the strength necessary to be able to start again.

Tanauan, Batangas province, Philippines, January 17th, 2020
(Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

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