Aerial footage of an erupting Philippine volcano

National

In this photo provided by the Office of Civil Defense, clouds of steam rise from the crater of Taal volcano at Batangas province, southern Philippines on Friday Jan. 17, 2020. Taal volcano remains life-threatening despite weaker emissions and fewer tremors, an official said Friday and advised thousands of displaced villagers not to return to the danger zone. (Office of Civil Defense via AP)

(AP) — New aerial footage of an erupting Philippine volcano has shown ash and steam billowing from its crater as authorities in the area remained on high alert for a possible hazardous explosive eruption.

The Taal volcano emitted weaker ash and steam explosions on Friday, the sixth day of its eruption.

But despite the seeming lull, continuing volcanic quakes mean officials have advised thousands of displaced villagers not to return to the danger zone until further notice.

The volcano since Sunday has remained at alert level 4, the second-highest warning, indicating a hazardous explosive eruption is possible in hours or days.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from areas now under a security lockdown, and soldiers and police have been stopping desperate villagers from returning to retrieve belongings and save their poultry and cattle.

Police have allowed batches of residents to check their homes for a few hours during the day in some high-risk villages.

About 125,000 people fled their homes in hardest-hit Batangas province, more than 65 kilometres (40 miles) south of the capital Manila.

At least 373 evacuation sites were crammed with the displaced and needed more face masks, portable toilets, bottled water and sleeping mats, according to a provincial disaster-response office.

The 1,020-foot (311-metre) Taal is the second-most restive of about two dozen volcanoes across the Philippines.

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