Chilling Taal volcano images show horses and cows buried in ash as villagers race to save stricken animals

VILLAGERS whose homes were buried in two feet of volcanic ash have ignored warnings of a worse eruption to come as they returned home to save their animals.

Farmers carried pigs, horses, cows and birds to safety on small canoes after hundreds of livestock and pets were killed by the eruption of Mount Taal in the Philippines.

Dead horses on the shore near Mount Taal after an eruption buried the surrounding island in ash
A dead horses on the shore near Mount Taal after an eruption buried the surrounding island in ash
New York Times
Cows lie dead on the shore after the devastating eruption in the Philippines
Cows lie dead on the shore after the devastating eruption in the Philippines
Getty Images – Getty
Some animals miraculously survived as the lush islands were turned to toxic deserts
Some animals miraculously survived as the lush islands were turned to toxic deserts
AP:Associated Press

Stark pictures showed lush green islands around Lake Taal turned to grey desert with smashed trees and houses coated in knee-deep dust.

Tens of thousands of people fled as the volcano began spitting out lava and ash on Sunday.

But their animals could not escape, and heartbreaking images show the corpses of cows and horses poking through the black sludge on land or floating in the sea.

Thousands of dead fish also litter the shoreline after toxic ash rained down from a nine-mile-high mushroom cloud.

Police and coast guard officers are enforcing an evacuation zone as the eruption continues for a fourth day.

Scientists warned a further “explosive eruption” could strike any moment, triggering lava flows and even a tsunami, while rain could cause deadly mudslides.

But some villagers risked arrest as well as their lives as they paddled back to the foot of the volcano to salvage what they could.

Villagers rescue a horse after the Taal volcano eruption
Villagers rescue a horse after the Taal volcano eruption
EPA
Animal rescue volunteers scoured Taal island for abandoned pets
EPA
Horses, cows and even a water buffalo were transported to safety by canoe
Horses, cows and even a water buffalo were transported to safety by canoe
New York Times
These farmers returned to save their pigs
AP:Associated Press
Pet dogs were also saved from the ash-coated disaster zone
AP:Associated Press

Miraculously, some animals survived and were seen caked in ash as they were taken off the islands to safety.

Pet dogs abandoned by their owners were also saved by volunteers and taken to shelters outside the danger zone.

Other villagers dug out treasured possessions from under feet of ash as they surveyed the wrecks of their homes after 460 earthquakes hit in three days.

Boatman Melvin Mendoza, 39, told the New York Times: “We had happy memories here.

“The island sustained our livelihoods, but also took everything back. Everything’s gone in the blink of an eye.”

Meanwhile, worshippers in nearby Alitagtag performed a traditional Subli ritual prayer calling for the eruption to cease.

Many locals made their living by offering boat trips to tourists.

The area is a popular holiday destination, especially for citydwellers from Manila who enjoyed swimming in the lake and hiking up the volcano.

Busy lakeside resorts such a Talisay and Tagaytay have been put on lockdown by police who are enforcing a total evacuation in some areas.

Some 44,000 people are being houses in more than 200 shelters.

But experts say half a million people living within nine miles of the peak are in danger and should be moved.

Dead horses lie buried under two feet of ash on Taal volcano island
Dead horses lie buried under two feet of ash on Taal volcano island
Getty Images – Getty
Hundreds of livestock and pets have died in the ongoing eruption
EPA
The village of Calauit is buried in ash from the erupting Mount Taal nearby
New York Times
Residents have returned to see what they could salvage, ignoring warnings of further eruptions
AP:Associated Press
The eruption has destroyed homes and livelihoods
AP:Associated Press
A police roadblock in the resort of Talisay, which has been evacuated
A police roadblock in the resort of Talisay, which has been evacuated
AP:Associated Press
Farmer Jack Imperial, 49, in his pineapple plantation covered with ash from the erupting Taal Volcano
Farmer Jack Imperial, 49, in his pineapple plantation covered with ash
Reuters
A volunteer with dogs saved from the disaster zone in Talisay
A volunteer with dogs saved from the disaster zone in Talisay
AP:Associated Press

 

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