A Volcano Has Blanketed Parts Of The Philippines In A Thick Layer Of Toxic Ash

In the Philippines’ Batangas province, the Taal volcano is spewing lava and blanketing the surrounding area with a thick layer of gray ash.

Authorities are anticipating a major eruption in the near future and have ordered the evacuation of everybody within 8.7 miles of the volcano’s danger zone. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 38,000 people have been evacuated to 75 evacuation centers. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has noted that new fissures near the volcano and an increase in volcanic earthquakes are possible signs that an eruption may occur in the coming days.

These pictures show what the government has declared as the “calamity zone,” where life has frozen to a virtual standstill and ash has smothered all color from this once-vibrant tropical paradise.

Clouds of volcanic ash rise from damaged trees in Laurel in the Batangas province, Jan. 14.

A resident clears volcanic ash from his roof in Laurel, Jan. 14.

Leila de Castro carries a statue of the baby Jesus, which she recovered from her sister’s house, as she walks on a road covered with volcanic ash in Boso-Boso, Jan. 14.

A resident looks at a house damaged from volcanic ash at Laurel, Jan. 14.

Residents who briefly returned home to retrieve belongings, walk along a road covered in volcanic ash in Laurel, Jan. 14.

Inflatables floating on Taal Lake are covered with volcanic ash in Talisay, Jan. 14.

A resident checks his jeep covered with volcanic ash outside their house in Laurel, Jan. 14.

The roof a basketball gymnasium is left destroyed by volcanic ash in Laurel, Jan. 14.

A police car is seen covered in volcanic ash in Talisay, Jan. 14.

A man walks on a road blanketed with volcanic ash in Tagaytay, Jan. 14.

The carcass of a horse is seen buried in volcanic ash near the carcass of a cow floating on the shore of Taal Volcano Island, , Jan. 14.

An ash-covered cow in Batangas Province, Jan. 13.

Dead trees near Taal Volcano’s crater on Jan. 14.

Houses near Taal Volcano’s crater is seen buried in volcanic ash on Jan. 14.

Footprints of different animals are seen on a road in Laurel, Jan. 14.

Buildings and houses near Taal Volcano’s crater on Jan. 14.

A resident cleans his roof damaged by volcanic ash in Boso-Boso, Jan. 14.

A vehicle is seen covered in volcanic ash in Laurel, Jan. 14.

Residents clear their roofs covered with volcanic ash at Laurel, Jan. 14.

  • Gabriel H. Sanchez is the photo essay editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York City.

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