The usually bustling communities on the shore of Lake Taal in the Philippines are now ghost towns.
Situated just across the water from Taal volcano, they are right in the path of the latest eruption.
As we drive through the quiet streets, we pass rows of shut up houses and lines of closed and locked gates.
Image: Cars are coated in ash from the volcano
Ash has fallen like snow, blanketing everything in a grey film, stripping the colour from the world.
Up the road, Annie Cruzap is getting ready to leave.
She and her six children were trapped in their house by falling ash at the weekend.
She is afraid if they do not go now, then they may not escape a bigger eruption.
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“I am afraid,” she says.
“Every time there is an earthquake I hold on to the bookshelf because I am worried it will fall on the children while they are sleeping. We don’t sleep” – she continued.
Image: The Taal Volcano has begun erupting
The volcano has knocked out both the power and the water.
A forced evacuation is under way – the military will soon arrive at the property to tell them to leave.
Animals have to be left behind as many families take only what they can carry.
Despite the danger, Annie’s brother, Raffy De Leon, is determined to stay to watch over their homes.
“So you’ll only leave when you’re forced to go?” I ask.
“Yes Ma’am,” he replies, “We want to stay here as long as we can. It’s the only thing our parents left behind for us.”
Column of smoke and ash reaches nine miles high.
Authorities are working to evacuate around 460,000 people who currently live inside the 14km (8miles) danger zone.
That population jumps to almost 1-million, just 17km (10m) away.
New cracks and fissures have opened up on the slope of the volcano, while lava fountains hundreds of metres high are still being recorded.
Lightning strikes as ash spews from volcano
A Level 4 warning remains in place – meaning risk of an imminent hazardous eruption.
Level 5 means a hazardous eruption is under way.
At the moment, experts are not sure when the situation will become safer.
They hope it is a matter of days, but it could be weeks.
So all evacuees, like Annie, can do now – is wait.
Nature will decide if she, and thousands of others, have homes to return to.
Source : Sky News