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Project site not damaged by Taal Volcano eruption

February 19, 2020

Seacology project partners near Taal Lake, in the Philippines, were forced to evacuate after the volcano in the middle of the lake erupted on January 12, burying surrounding communities in a thick layer of ash.

Seacology funded repairs and upgrades to an ecotourism center in the Municipality of Mataas na Kahoy, on Taal Lake, in 2015. The community is protecting a fish sanctuary in the lake.

The government has lifted the evacuation order, and people have begun to return to their homes, but the situation is uncertain. The area is still experiencing dozens of earthquakes a day, which means magma is still moving under the volcano. Earlier this month, 77 quakes were recorded in a 24-hour period. Some of them involved shaking for more than a minute; these “harmonic tremors” often precede eruptions.

Seacology’s field representative Ferdie Marcelo recently got in touch with Jay-O Castillo of our nonprofit partner Pusod. Jay-O reports that the members of the Movement of Small Fishers of Taal Lake (the Philippine abbreviation is KMMLT) were dispersed to different evacuation centers. Pusod is still struggling to account for all the members, but was able to get in touch with KMMLT officers, who are okay. Although people can go back to their homes, the continuing earthquakes are frightening, and residents often head back to the evacuation centers. Pusod is helping supply food for KMMLT members.

The good news is that as far as they can tell, the Taal Lake Conservation Center was not damaged, and apart from the inches-thick ashfall, no homes were damaged. At this point, no one is fishing in Taal Lake, so the state of the fish sanctuary is unknown. Seacology will monitor the situation and help Pusod and the KMMLT with project-related repairs as needs become known.

If you want to donate to disaster relief, take a look at Charity Navigator’s recommendations.

More information on the situation on Taal Lake can be found at Rappler.

 

Taal conservation center post-evacuation

Inside the center