Volcano evacuees hunker down in Philippines

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The fine ash drifting into the school gym on gusts of wind is a constant reminder for evacuees in the Philippines of the volcano that threatens to bury their homes forever.

As they sit in the spaces fenced in by the few bags and boxes of belongings they could carry, evacuees wonder how long they will have to wait to know whether Taal volcano will devastate the region or sputter back to sleep.

“It’s all in God’s hands now. We are not sure if we will have a home to return to,” said Leonita Gonzales, 52, who fled with the rest of her household from the danger zone around Taal.

Her banana palms were destroyed by the ash that fell after the volcano started to gush smoke on Sunday. She is uncertain whether her home’s tin roof will be able to bear the weight either.

Nearly 44,000 people have fled the 14km (nine mile) danger zone around Taal, where volcanologists have warned a devastating eruption could rain rocks and magma and set off a tsunami from the lake in which the volcano sits.