By Aaron Recuenco
A resident of Taal Volcano Island in Batangas was reported missing during the eruption of the Taal Volcano, raising fears that he could have been trapped in the area.
Based on the report of the Batangas Provincial Police Office, the missing person was identified as Alexander Dando Jr., a resident of Barangay Alas-as in San Nicolas town.
Barangay Alas-as is one of the four barangays of the volcano island that was flattened by tons of ash spewed by Taal Volcano on Jan. 12. The entire island was declared no-man’s land.
“Alexander Dando Jr. reportedly missing since January 12, 2020,” the report read.
While there was no reported casualty during the eruption, the Batangas Provincial Government confirmed 39 deaths due to various reasons including heart attacks and illness.
At least 22,000 houses were reported to have been damaged as a result of the eruption, nearly half of them located on the volcano island.
Taal Volcano Island had a population of more than 7,000 people, based on the 2017 census.
Some of the residents of the volcano island have been transferred to a big evacuation center in Ibaan town, Batangas while permanent relocation sites are being constructed also in Ibaan, Nasugbu, and San Juan.
Batangas provincial director Col. Edwin Quilates said 142,000 people are still considered evacuees, with 15,171 of them staying in evacuation centers while 126,835 are staying elsewhere.
Quilates said his men are busy assisting in massive clean ups of areas covered with volcanic ash, while some of his other men are implementing the lockdown on six barangays within the seven-kilometer danger zone of Taal Volcano.