Manila airport closed, classes suspended as volcano eruption spews ashes

LUZON, Philippines: Ashes and smoke comes out of the crater of Taal Volcano which had a phreatic eruption on Sunday. Alert Level 4 is currently raised over the volcano which means  a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days. Photo courtesy of PNA//Phivolcs Twitter account)

MANILA, Jan 13 (NNN-PNA) — Classes at all levels in Metro Manila on Monday (January 13) has been suspended due to ash fall from the phreatic eruption of Taal Volcano, Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported.

In an advisory on Sunday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said the suspension of classes include all 17 cities within Metro Manila, aside from the southern provinces Cavite and Batangas, as well as Santa Rosa and Biñan, Laguna.

The MMDA added that the areas which experienced ashfall as of 10:07 p.m. Sunday include Cavite, Batangas, Rizal, Northwestern portion of Quezon, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, eastern portion of Pangasinan, and southeastern portion of Zambales.

MMDA Spokesperson Assistant Secretary Celina Pialago, in a message sent to reporters, said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has recommended to the Office of the President the suspension of government work in the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Central Luzon.

To mitigate the possible effects of the disaster, the MMDA recommended to residents in the affected areas to avoid leaving their homes, to wear face masks, and to close all windows.

Earlier, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Alert Level 4 over Taal Volcano and warned of an imminent “hazardous explosive eruption.”

Phivolcs also recommended evacuation to all residents within the 14-kilometer radius of the volcano due to “high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.” 

Meanwhile, local news media also reported that the Manila airport had been closed due to the ash, while several airlines including AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines had suspended their flights to Manila.