Manila in a standstill with imminent volcanic eruption

Business and government offices in Philippines capital close, flights delayed or cancelled

The lake in the crater of Taal. Seismologists warn that the volcano may erupt anytime soon. Photo: Getty Images

MANILA - The imminent eruption of a volcano in the Philippines has caused businesses, government offices and schools to shut across the capital Manila on Jan 13.

Government seismologists have warned that an eruption could happen any time at Taal, potentially triggering a tsunami across the lake at the Southeast Asian country.

Taal has been spewing ash for a second day from its crater in the middle of a lake about 70km south of central Manila.

Magma has been recorded moving towards the crater of Taal, and more than 24,000 people were evacuated from the volcanic island and the area immediately around it. The area, a popular tourist spot, has experienced dozens of tremors since Jan 13.

In Manila, a city of 13 million people, streets were largely empty. Schools and government offices were closed on official orders. The stock exchange suspended trading and many private businesses were shut as a precaution.

Flight operations at Manila's international airport partially resumed, authorities said, after more than 500 flights were delayed or cancelled on Jan 12.

One of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the past five centuries, most recently in 1977.

An eruption in 1911 killed 1,500 people and one in 1754 lasted for a few months.

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