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Volcano erupts in southern Japan, people urged to evacuate


JMA has raised its alert for Sakurajima to level five, the highest level, which calls for evacuations.

Tokyo:

Dozens of people were told to evacuate their homes after a violent volcanic eruption in southern Japan on Sunday as the national weather agency issued its high-level alert for the mountain.

Television footage showed glowing rocks and dark plumes exploding from the Sakurajima volcano in Kagoshima, which erupted just after 8 p.m. (1100 GMT).

No damage was immediately reported, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida asked the government “to work closely with the local municipality to ensure damage prevention, for example through evacuations,” Isozaki told reporters.

The volcano frequently spews smoke and ash and is a major tourist attraction.

Sunday’s explosion blasted large ash about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the crater, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said, while smoke reached about 300 meters and merged with the clouds.

The agency raised its alert for Sakurajima to level five, the highest level, which calls for evacuations.

Previously, it was level three, which prohibits access to the mountain.

The volcano had four previous eruptions between Saturday and Sunday afternoon, with the plume reaching 1,200 meters.

“Residential areas of Arimura City and Furusato City within three kilometers of the summit crater…of Sakurajima should be on high alert,” Tsuyoshi Nakatsuji of the division told reporters. volcanic observation station of the JMA.

According to the city of Kagoshima, there are 77 residents in the two cities.

Nakatsuji said the JMA observed the swelling of the volcano last week, which signals the accumulation of magma.

“But the swelling didn’t resolve after the last eruption,” he said.

“We will be watching this carefully.”

Japan has dozens of active volcanoes and sits on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where much of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are recorded.

Sakurajima was once an island, but due to previous eruptions, it is now attached to a peninsula.

Japan last issued the highest evacuation alert for a volcano when Kuchinoerabu Island, also in Kagoshima, erupted in 2015.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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