Hanoi (VNA) - Authorities in the Philippines have started evacuating thousands of people after the alert status was raised on July 1 for a restive volcano that spewed a kilometre-high plume of gas and steam.

At least 3,500 families composed of 14,495 individuals have been evacuated in the province of Batangas province following three eruptions, according to Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas.

The alert for the Taal volcano, approximately 70km south of central Manila, moved from level 2 to level 3 on the 5-level scale, which the seismology and volcanology agency said meant a “magmatic intrusion” at the main crater “could further drive succeeding eruptions”.

Taal is one of the world’s smallest active volcanoes. Despite standing at only 311 metres, it can be deadly and an eruption in 1911 killed more than 1,300 people.

In January last year, Taal shot a column of ash and steam as high as 15km into the sky, which forced more than 100,000 people to abandon their homes, causing widespread flight cancellations and heavy ash falls in Manila./.