Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said the worst-case scenario for Taal Volcano, which started acting up Sunday, is an eruption with a scale similar to the June 15, 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo which killed 800 people and rendered 200,000 homeless.
“Worst case scenario is the volcano will blow up like Pinatubo. Remember Pinatubo, the entire mountain collapsed during the eruption. That’s what we are fearing, that the eruption would cause the entire island to rise and scatter debris on the nearby areas. Hopefully this will not happen. We can never predict the actions of this volcano,” Lorenzana said during a press briefing by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Meanwhile, the DND chief, who is also NDRRMC chair, said he already talked with Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director, Undersecretary Renato Solidum, who said that there is no danger of tsunami as Taal Lake is too small.
“It will not generate tsunami but anyway we should be very alert if there will be a big eruption that will disturb the waters there,” he added.
Lorenzana also reiterated President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s directive that families in the affected communities or regions must be evacuated to safer grounds.
The DND chief said the Department of Trade and Industry is now looking into reports about the sudden spike in the prices of gas masks.
The NDRRMC, in its 12-noon update Monday, said a total of 5,458 families or around 24,508 individuals in Batangas and Cavite were affected in the volcanic event on Sunday afternoon.
This is significantly higher than the 966 families or 7,742 individuals reported earlier.
Of the 5,458 affected families, around 3,456 families or 15,540 individuals are being sheltered in 75 evacuations.
These came from 23 towns in Batangas and two in Cavite, the NDRRMC said. (PNA)