By Alison Fox
January 16, 2020
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Officials in the Philippines continued to encourage people to evacuate Wednesday as the threat from the Taal Volcano remained.

The volcano, which started erupting this past weekend, has since caused mass evacuations and at one point even shut down the airport. The volcano sits just south of Manila.

Credit: Getty Images

According to NPR, citing the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Taal had started to show “generally weaker” activity. But that doesn’t mean the threat has passed.

In fact, as of Wednesday the alert level remained at a four out of five, which indicates that a "hazardous explosive eruption" is possible, according to the radio network, and it could erupt again within hours or days.

The institute’s director told NPR that the volcano’s danger zone is part of a protected national park but that people have been living in illegal settlements there, calling it “an accident waiting to happen.” And there are currently new fissures in the ground near Taal, which could potentially mean that magma was rising.

"Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity," the institute said, according to NPR.

While the danger has not yet passed, many residents are returning home anyway, Reuters reported.

In the area, tens of thousands of people had left their homes, but some have returned to check on personal belongings or animals left behind, and still some refused to leave in the first place. Reuters reported that power had already been restored in some areas.

“We’ve lost everything. Our house got damaged,” a 59-year-old resident told The Associated Press. “But I need to retrieve my pots and cooking wares and other things. They should not be very, very strict.”

While the volcano poses a significant danger, it also happens to be one of the world’s smallest, coming in at only 1,020 feet.