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Volcano In Japan Erupts Triggering 'Highest Alert Level'

Volcano In Japan Erupts Triggering 'Highest Alert Level'

The Sakurajima volcano has erupted, forcing hundreds to be evacuated.

The Sakurajima volcano on the Japanese island of Kyushu has erupted, triggering the nation's 'highest alert level'.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated, though there have been no immediate reports of damage.

Volcanic stones have been raining down as far as 1.5 miles away from the volcano and video footage shows lava erupting from the volcano.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency has said the volcano began erupting at around 8:05pm local time.

A level five volcanic warning has been issued for Sakurajima, the highest possible alert level in Japan which advises people in the local area to evacuate from the danger zone as soon as possible.

Sakurajima is the most active volcano in Japan with thousands of small explosions each year.

It regularly erupts to the point that nearby Kagoshima City often conducts evacuation drills and has built a number of shelters to shield people from volcanic debris.

Home to almost 600,000 people, Kagoshima City is only a short distance away from the active volcano.

While there is a bay between the city and the volcano, according to Reuters there are some residential areas within 1.9 miles of Sakurajima which are likely to be evacuated as they are in a dangerous range for the falling volcanic debris.

At present most people in the city are not being asked to evacuate, though that is subject to change if the situation becomes more serious.

Government officials at the residence of Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida are gathering information about the situation.

Kagoshima City, with the Sakurajima volcano in the background.

Sakurajima, which translates to 'cherry blossom island' in Japanese, used to be an island until months worth of lava flows from a major eruption in 1914 turned it into a peninsula.

That eruption, which began on 11 January, 1914, was the most powerful volcanic eruption in Japan during the 20th century.

There have been plenty more eruptions from the volcano since then, with varying degrees of severity and regularity.

Back in 2019 it spewed volcanic ash more than three miles high.

Beyond the danger of volcanic debris falling on areas where people live, the volcanic ash causes a plethora of health problems of its own.

They can cause breathing problems for people, while a thick layer of ash can cause damage to buildings or clog up infrastructure.

Even worse, the ash from a volcano can contaminate the ecosystem around it, disrupting the water supply and making it harder for animals living nearby to survive.

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Featured Image Credit: NHK/Alamy

Topics: World News, Japan