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Thousands evacuated after Philippines volcano sparks lightning

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A volcano near the Philippines capital has spewed ash up to 15 kilometres into the sky, prompting thousands of people to be evacuated and flights to be cancelled.

A volcano near the Philippines capital has spewed ash up to 15 kilometres into the sky, prompting thousands of people to be evacuated and flights to be cancelled.

Taal volcano, one of the country's most active, is in the middle of a lake about 70km south of Manila's centre.

As tremors shook the area on Sunday (local time), volcanic lightning flickered in the column of steam and ash.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised its alert level to 4 out of 5 – meaning "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days".

Phivolcs also warned of possible hazards of a volcanic tsunami and rapid currents of hot gas and volcanic matter that could hit areas around the Taal lake, a popular weekend getaway from Manila.

The evacuation of about 8000 residents of the volcano island and other high-risk towns is underway.

About 6000 were already out of the danger zone as of early Sunday evening, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council told reporters.

Ash fell as far away as Manila, prompting flights to be suspended at the capital's busy international airport.

General Manager Ed Monreal said the suspension would continue into Monday because there was ash on the runway.

Local school classes were cancelled for Monday and people are being urged to stay indoors.

President Rodrigo Duterte had instructed authorities to move people within the perimeter of Taal out of the danger zone, his spokesman said in a statement.

The ash plume was clearly visible from the nearby city of Tagaytay, a well-frequented viewing spot for the volcano.

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Restaurant patron Jon Patrick Yen had an unexpected frontrow seat to the drama when he went for a meal in Tagaytay.

"We were having lunch when we heard rumbling. We saw the volcano erupting. It rained and some small pebbles fell to the ground," he said.

"I did not expect to see such spectacle. We just went by to eat."

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/philippines-news-taal-volcano-prompts-evacuation/7a6a0094-3f94-4f86-9572-8dacb64e9d66

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