Taal volcano: Bay Area Filipino community reacts to devastating eruptions near Philippine capital

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Red hot lava is spewing from a volcano near the Philippine capital of Manila. Tens of thousands of people have already evacuated through heavy ash and frightening tremors and now authorities are making plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands more for fear of a bigger eruption from the so-called Taal volcano. Here's how the Bay Area Filipino community is responding.

"All the lightning in the sky, it looks so unreal, it looked like it was something out of an apocalyptic movie or something," said Patrick Racela, a youth leader at the Filipino Community Center in San Francisco.

The staff there has been following the news from their homeland closely.

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Around 11 a.m. local time Sunday, a volcano just outside Manila started blasting ashes, steam, and pebbles into the sky. Taal volcano is a major tourist destination, with thousands of residents living in the immediate area.

The Bay Area is home to nearly half a million Filipinos, one of the largest communities in the country. The Filipino Community Center's partners live or work in the affected area.

"Very devastated to hear the news, just because we have clients who have family over there," said Katrina Liwanag, an immigration services co-ordinator at the Center.

Racela is also gathering his nationwide youth group with an initiative called, Kapit Bisig.

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You can find more information here from the Filipino Community Center.

The Filipino Community Center is also urging those who want to help to find partner organizations that are doing work on the ground, like the Foundation for Philippine Progress.

"Right now they're supporting about 16,000," said Liwanag.

And those are just the people seeking shelter for now, more evacuations could be coming. As eruptions continue, about 25 million people who live within 60 miles of the volcano could be at risk.
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