The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are advising holidaymakers of flight disruptions at Manila International Airport after the second most active volcano in the Philippines emitted vast amounts of lava.
Around 8,000 people were evacuated from the area after the volcano released large volumes of ash on Sunday 12th January 2020. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology have set the volcano at Alert Level 4, which means that a ‘hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.’ The volcano is situated 45 miles (70km) from the Manila capital with over 450,000 people residing in the danger zone, according to The Official United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Although it has not yet been confirmed, authorities are warning that there could be a volcanic tsunami in the aftermath of the imminent eruption, caused by debris falling into the water.
Due to the amount of volcanic ash, Manila’s International airport was forced to suspend all flights on Sunday causing disruptions. According to BBC News, ‘the Civil Aviation Authority announced on Monday that it had resumed “partial operations” as of 10:00 local time (02:00 GMT) for flights departing from the airport and 12:00 local time (4:00 GMT) for arrivals.’ However, travel disruptions are still likely.
If you are due to travel to the Philippines in the coming days, you should contact your airline or tour operator immediately – it may be possible for you to rebook dates or change locations.
Those looking to cancel their holiday should be aware that travel insurance will not cover ‘disinclination to travel,’ however cancellation may be available if your policy offers cover for force majeure – provided flights, accommodation or the surrounding areas have been affected. Policies that include cancellation for any cause may also refund passengers who are no longer able to travel and who are unable to get their money back from another source. Make sure to read your policy wording carefully as force majeure and ‘cancellation for any cause’ cover is not generally available as standard on most travel insurance policies.
Holidaymakers who are currently near the area of disruption should also check policies for force majeure cover. It’s worth noting, the policy does not cover curtailment (bringing you back home) if you no longer wish to stay, however you will be covered for the cost of relocating to alternative accommodation if the area you are staying in is affected by the eruption.