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Pineapples have turned gray in the Philippines from ash spewed by Taal volcano

Ash from Taal volcano turns crops gray
Ash from Taal volcano turns crops gray 01:08

Parts of the Philippines have turned gray after the Taal volcano spewed lava and ash into the sky this week. Nearly 44,000 people have fled the nine-mile danger zone around the volcano, as a massive eruption is expected. 

The ash-fall that drifted from the volcano has damaged over $10.9 million worth of crops, the Department of Agriculture said, according to Reuters. Photos from the area show animals, plants, people and homes covered in the thick ash. 

Photos document the effects of volcanic ash in the Philippines

One particular photo has gained widespread attention. It shows farmer Jack Imperial with his destroyed pineapple crops, which are no longer green. The fruit now looks like charcoal. 

Farmer Jack Imperial, 49, poses for a portrait in his pineapple plantation covered with ash from the erupting Taal Volcano
Farmer Jack Imperial, 49, in his pineapple plantation covered with ash from the erupting Taal volcano, in Tagaytay, Philippines, January 15, 2020. Reuters Staff / REUTERS

Imperial told Reuters this is the first time he has experienced such devastation in his 17 years as a framer. 

"We will not be able to harvest the pineapples that are already due for harvesting," he said. "We just have to accept that we will incur a loss. Even if we are able to harvest some pineapples, if customers are scared to come because of the eruption, the pineapples would just end up rotting." 

The ash has also effected other farmers growing pineapples, bananas and coffee nearby, Reuters reports.

Taal Volcano Erupts In The Philippines
Residents who briefly returned home to retrieve belongings walk along a road covered in volcanic ash from Taal volcano's eruption on January 14, 2020 in Laurel, Batangas province, Philippines.  Getty Images

The ash is threatening more than just crops. People have been advised to wear masks to protect from the ash, but supplies of the face coverings were running out, even in the capital, Manila. The sprawling capital city is only about 50 miles north of the volcano.

Photos show animal carcass buried in ash and residents trying to save other animals, hoisting some into boats to get them to safety.

A bird sits atop a roof covered with ashes from the erupting Taal Volcano evacuates in Talisay
A bird sits atop a roof covered with ash from the erupting Taal volcano evacuates in Talisay, Batangas, Philippines, January 13, 2020. Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS

Entire towns have been blanketed with the soot, and the Philippine government is implementing lock-downs in some towns surrounding the volcano. No casualties have been reported so far.

Taal Volcano Erupts In The Philippines
Residents clean rooftops of volcanic ash from Taal volcano's eruption on January 14, 2020 in Laurel, Batangas province, Philippines. Getty Images
A ferris wheel is covered with volcanic ash in a park in Tagaytay City
A ferris wheel is covered with volcanic ash in a park in Tagaytay City, Philippines, January 14, 2020. Eloisa Lopez / REUTERS

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert level and warned that a hazardous eruption could take place any time. Authorities have evacuated tens of thousands of people from the area. 

Taal Volcano Erupts In The Philippines
A fishing boat sails along a lake as Taal volcano erupts, spewing vast amounts of ash into the air, on January 14, 2020 in Talisay, Batangas province, Philippines. Getty Images
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