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Evacuation alert after volcanic eruption in southern Japan

#Evacuation #alert #volcanic #eruption #southern #Japan

Dozens of people were ordered to evacuate their homes following a fiery volcanic eruption in southern Japan on Sunday, as the national weather agency issued its highest alert level for the mountain.

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

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

Sunday’s blast ejected large slag about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the crater, the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a statement.

The agency raised its alert for Sakurajima to level five, the top level calling for evacuations. Before the eruption, it was at level three, which prohibits access to the mountain.

“Residential areas of the cities of Arimura and Furusato within two miles of the summit crater…of Sakurajima should be on high alert,” the JMA said.

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

There were no immediate reports of damage, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Japan has numerous active volcanoes and is located on what is known as the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where a large proportion of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Sakurajima used to be an island but is now connected to a peninsula due to previous eruptions.

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

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