DOH cautions public on health effects of Taal ashfall

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
DOH cautions public on health effects of Taal ashfall
A man points at the ashfall that covered a car in Langgam, San Pedro, Laguna on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, as Taal Volcano spewed plumes and rock fragments to nearby areas.
The STAR / Mong Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health cautioned the public of the possible health problems that exposure to volcanic ash may bring after Taal Volcano spewed plumes Sunday.

As of Sunday evening, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has raised the alert status of the volcano to Alert Level 4 indicating "hazardous eruption imminent."

The DOH released an advisory that volcanic ash, which may contain powder-size to sand-size particles, may cause some health problems.

Those who are suffering from bronchitis, emphysema or asthma are advised to avoid exposure to volcanic ash.

Among the effects of volcanic ash are nose and throat irritation, coughing, bronchitis-like illness, discomfort while breathing and eye irritation.

Exposure to volcanic ash may also cause minor skin problems and injuries or death due to roof collapse or vehicular accident due to slippery roads and poor visibility, the Health department said.

To cope with ashfall, the DOH advised residents in affected areas to minimize exposure to ash by staying indoors as much as possible; keeping doors and windows closed; using damp curtains, blankets or clothing to avoid infiltration at home and using dust masks.

The DOH also recommended wearing goggles or eyeglasses to protect the eyes from irritation and to keep pets in a closed shelter.

The public was also advised to clear their roofs of ash and to observe traffic notifications and road safety measures.

Several areas near Taal volcano have also announced class suspensions for Monday.

As of 5:30 p.m., Taal volcano's main crater has generated a 10 to 15-kilometer steam-laden tephra column with frequent volcanic lightning that brought wet ashfall on the general north as far as Quezon City, Phivolcs said.

"Areas in the general north of Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall," Phivolcs said.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 11, 2021 - 9:45am

Get updates as Phivolcs issues warnings over activity in Taal Volcano. (Main photo by Philstar.com/Rosette Adel)

July 11, 2021 - 9:45am

State volcanologists record 75 volcanic earthquakes from Taal Volcano in the past 24 hours as of 5 a.m. on July 11.

Phivolcs says these include 61 volcanic tremors that lasted from one to 25 minutes with  weak background tremor.

Alert Level 3 is still raised over Taal Volcano.

July 9, 2021 - 12:16pm

Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas has issued a memorandum restricting leisure travel in high-risk areas located within the 7-kilometer radius of the Taal Volcano crater.

In Memorandum Circular No. 01 Series of 2021, leisure travel to Barangays Banyaga and Bilibinwang in Agoncillo town and Barangays Buso-buso, Gulod and Bugaan East in the town of Laurel shall not be allowed. 

Prohibited activities include staycations, going to a recreational area, resort, camping, sunbathing, pool swimming, picknicking, island hopping, group water activities, partying and merriment events and other similar activities. — The STAR/Arnell Ozaeta

July 4, 2021 - 4:40pm

State volcanologists record the highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide from Taal Volcano.

As of Sunday afternoon, Phivolcs log at an average of 22,628 tonnes/day and a total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes.

"In view of the above, DOST-PHIVOLCS is reminding the public that Alert Level 3 prevails over Taal Volcano and that current SO2 parameters indicate ongoing magmatic extrusion at the Main Crater that may further drive succeeding explosions," Phivolcs says in an advisory.

July 4, 2021 - 9:07am

Alert Level 3 is still raised over Taal Volcano as Phivolcs records 31 volcanic earthquakes and weak background tremor in the past 24 hours.

Entering Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays Agoncillo and Laurel, as well as sailing through Taal Lake, is still prohibited.

Phivolcs warns that pyroclastic density currents or base surge, volcanic tsunami and ashfall are possible.

July 2, 2021 - 11:49am

The government has activated Joint Task Force Taal to help with evacuation and potential relief operations, the Palace says Friday, June 2.

Police and Coast Guard units have also been put on alert for humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

"The Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 4-A is on heightened alert and has stockpiles of relief support consisting of food packs amounting to P1.4 million and non-food items worth P11 million," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also says.

"We ask residents in the areas surrounding the volcano lake to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures, cooperate with their local authorities should the need for evacuation arise," he also says.

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