On January 12, 2020, the Taal volcano in the Philippines began to launch ash into the atmosphere. The volcano, located in Lake Taal, 60 kilometers from the capital city of Manila, darkened the sky with volcanic debris. Authorities urged those in the area to evacuate immediately, and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) raised the alert level to “level four.” This means that an explosive eruption could happen in the future. (Level five is reserved for an ongoing volcanic eruption.) In addition to the ash and magmic activity in the volcano, the wind carried ash as far away as Manila, and elsewhere on the Philippine island of Luzon.
The Church of the Nazarene has already mobilized to relieve some of the effects of the Taal volcano. Churches in the areas near Tagaytay and Batangas, near Taal, assisted with the handout of over 1000 facemasks to protect people from inhaling volcanic ash. These facemasks have become a precious commodity during the eruption, their price often inflated when they are available at all. In addition to facemasks, churches in the area have provided toiletries, clothing, and food, including 875 kg of rice. These volunteers have come from the following congregations: GMA Church, Bagong Bayan Church, Glorious Church, Tanza Bagtas Church, Tanza Capipisa Church, Grace Church, Faith Church of the Nazarene, and Indang.
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There are still many material needs for those affected by the eruption: diapers, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, crisis care kits, underwear for children and adults, canned goods, mats, and blankets. If you wish to contribute these goods, you can contact (in the Philippines) Leody Echavez at 09088959336, or Jasmine Eugenio at 09199925846. Those outside the Philippines can contribute to Asia-Pacific Disaster Relief via Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, or contact NCM Asia-Pacific via e-mail. And please continue to pray for the people of Taal and the surrounding areas.