Tens of thousands face bleak future under the Taal volcano in the Philippines

Some of the 250 evacuees at Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas. Over 35,000 have been evacuated as a result of Taal volcano's eruption.
Some of the 250 evacuees at Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas. Over 35,000 have been evacuated as a result of Taal volcano's eruption. PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas, is one place that has been housing evacuees. Over 35,000 have been evacuated as a result of Taal volcano's eruption.
The Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas, is one place that has been housing evacuees. Over 35,000 have been evacuated as a result of Taal volcano's eruption.PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Evacuees receiving food at Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas.
Evacuees receiving food at Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas.PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Over 35,000 have been evacuated as a result of Taal Volcano's eruption. There are about 250 evacuees at Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas.
Over 35,000 have been evacuated as a result of Taal Volcano's eruption. There are about 250 evacuees at Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas.PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Over 35,000 have been evacuated as a result of Taal Volcano's eruption. There are about 250 evacuees at Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas.
Over 35,000 have been evacuated as a result of Taal Volcano's eruption. There are about 250 evacuees at Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas.PHOTO: CRISTINA MENINA FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
A resident inspects damage to his house from volcanic ash in Batangas province, Philippines, on Jan 14, 2020.
A resident inspects damage to his house from volcanic ash in Batangas province, Philippines, on Jan 14, 2020.PHOTO: AP

SANTO TOMAS (Batangas) - Ms Estela Mendoza was looking forward to a full harvest of corn by month's end when a volcano, which for most of her life had been a majestic, but silent, presence, roared back to life.

In a matter of hours, she saw her husband's entire crop blanketed with a thick layer of ash and mud as the volcano, Taal, spewed massive columns of earth and debris on a clear Sunday (Jan 12) afternoon.

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