ISLAMABAD: Authorities in the Philippines have evacuated more than 6,000 residents from affected areas after a volcano in Batangas province south of the capital Manila blasted steam and ash, Anadolu Agency quoted local media reports on Monday.

The incident has forced authorities to close Manila airport and suspend financial activities in the capital.

Some 6,346 villagers were evacuated Sunday as the Taal Volcano sent a one-kilometre plume of ash into the air with ashfall reaching as far as Metro Manila, local daily The Manila Times reported.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned residents Sunday that a “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days”.

Authorities have also suspended classes and shut government offices in the affected areas, according to state-run media.

The public has been asked to stay safe by monitoring official advisories and notices from the relevant government agencies, the Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.

Residents aboard a government truck evacuate to a safer place after Taal volcano began spewing ash over Tanauan town, Batangas province south of Manila on January 13, 2020. Lava and broad columns of ash illuminated by lightning shot from an erupting volcano south of the Philippine capital on January 13, grounding hundreds of flights amid an alert for a possible “explosive eruption”. Photo: AFP / Ted Aljibe

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered authorities to undertake measures necessary to move people within the perimeter of the volcano out of the danger zone.

Flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport have also been suspended until further notice.

Manila International Airport Authority chief Ed Monreal said runways and ramps at the airport have accumulated ash, PNA reported.

More than 100 flights have been cancelled or diverted so far due to the suspension of airport operations. Health authorities have also asked residents in affected areas to evacuate as harsh conditions may be experienced after exposure to volcanic ash and gases, PNA added. – Bernama

Evacuating residents living at the foot of Taal volcano unload their belongings from an outrigger canoe while the volcano spews ash as seen from Tanauan town in Batangas province, south of Manila, on January 13, 2020. The Philippines was on alert January 13 for the “explosive eruption” of a volcano south of Manila, which officials said could be imminent after a massive column of ash forced a halt to flights at the capital’s main airport. Photo: AFP / Ted Aljibe