Batangas under state of calamity due to Taal unrest

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 13) — The entire province of Batangas is now under a state of calamity as Taal Volcano continues to spew ash and magma.

The provincial board of Batangas, where the volcano is located, passed a resolution during a special session on Monday placing the province under a state of calamity.

This declaration would allow the provincial government to tap into calamity funds which it can use to assist those affected by the volcano’s unrest.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who heads the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said 10,715 people are affected by the volcano’s imminent hazardous eruption, most of whom are Batangas residents.

Lorenzana also told reporters Monday afternoon that the government has enough resources to aid those affected by the volcano's unrest.

The National Electrification Administration reported that 27,719 households in Tanauan City and the towns of Laurel and Talisay under the Batangas II Electric Cooperative have lost power due to ashfall.

It added that the towns of San Nicolas and Agoncillo under the Batangas I Electric Cooperative also do not have power.

According to the situational report of NDRRMC as of 6pm, 4,175 families — or 18,187 individuals — in Batangas and Cavite have already evacuated and now in 76 evacuation centers.

The Office of Civil Defense-CALABARZON earlier implemented forced evacuation measures in several areas in the province as well as in nearby Tagaytay, after Alert Level 4 was raised over Taal— which started showing signs of marked unrest on Sunday afternoon.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned of a possible “hazardous explosive eruption” soon, and recommended that residents within a 14-kilometer radius of the volcano’s crater be evacuated.

Power outage and tremors have been experienced in Batangas following the volcano’s eruption. The eruptive activity has also sent ash falling in nearby provinces — including parts of Metro Manila.

The Batangas provincial government has since called for donations for evacuees — including N95 masks, drinking water, clothes, food, and gasoline, which will be used for vehicles for evacuation and rescue operations.