Philippines volcano in explosive eruption, thousands flee

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Philippine authorities warned an “explosive eruption” of a volcano south of Manila could be imminent, hours after it sent a massive column of ash skyward that forced officials to halt flights at the capital’s main airport until further notice.

Thousands of people living near Taal volcano, a popular tourist attraction set in the centre of a picturesque lake, were evacuated from their homes as it spewed ash, rumbled with earthquakes and lightning exploded above its crest.

A “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days”, the nation’s seismological agency warned, as locals weighed whether or not to flee the area.

“I’m afraid that it might erupt, but I’ll leave it to fate. I just have to pray,” Eduardo Carino, who works in a hotel near the volcano, told AFP.