World, Asia - Pacific

Philippines: Volcano halts air operations in capital

Over 6,000 evacuated in Philippines as volcano erupts, covering capital Manila in ash

Islamuddin Sajid   | 13.01.2020
Philippines: Volcano halts air operations in capital


The Taal Volcano in the Philippines, which has forced the displacement of at least 6,000 people, has adversely affected air traffic in the country's capital Manila.

Authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport said at least 516 flights were affected since early Sunday and that they expected operations to resume by Monday evening, according to a report on online news site

Philippines officials evacuated more than 6,000 residents from affected areas after a volcano in Batangas province south of the capital Manila blasted steam and ash on Sunday.

The incident has forced authorities to close Manila airport and suspend financial activities in the capital.

Some 6,346 villagers were evacuated Sunday as the Taal Volcano sent a one-kilometer plume of ash into the air with ashfall reaching as far as Metro Manila, local daily The Manila Times reported.

Officials said ash was no longer falling in the area, allowing flight operations to partially resume.

Airport authorities started cleaning runways, taxiways and ramps filled due to volcano ash as early as 4 a.m. local time (2000GMT Sunday).

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned residents Sunday that a “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.”

Authorities have also suspended classes and shut government offices in the affected areas, according to state-run media.

The public has been asked to stay safe by monitoring official advisories and notices from the relevant government agencies, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered authorities to undertake measures necessary to move people within the perimeter of the volcano out of the danger zone.

Flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport have also been suspended until further notice.

Manila International Airport Authority chief Ed Monreal said runways and ramps at the airport have accumulated ash, PNA reported.

More than 100 flights have been canceled or diverted so far due to the suspension of airport operations.

Health authorities have also asked residents in affected areas to evacuate as harsh conditions may be experienced after exposure to volcanic ash and gases, PNA added.

There are around 150 volcanoes in the southeast Asian region, with 23 located in the Philippines.

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