Thursday, May 28, 2015

Japan has Level 5 Alert Volcanic Eruption on Remote Island and Sudden Evacuation to the Astonishment of Residents

""A volcano exploded into life Friday morning on lightly populated Kuchinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, sending smoke and ash soaring into the sky. Authorities ordered residents and visitors to evacuate.
The 9:59 a.m. “explosive” eruption of the 650-meter Mt. Shindake, the main peak on the island, resulted in a plume over 9 km high and a pyroclastic flow which reached the coast, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, according to the local town office on the adjacent island of Yakushima, a popular tourist destination.
A weather agency official told a news conference that there is a risk of a second eruption and associated new pyroclastic flows. So far, he said, the pyroclastic flows had not struck the populated Maeda district.
Located about 100 km south of the southern tip of Kyushu, Kuchinoerabu has only about 100 full-time residents.
Some of those believed to have been present at the time were short-term visitors. The prefectural government said 141 people in all, from 78 families, were required to evacuate.
The evacuation warning came after the weather agency upgraded its alert for the island to the highest level of 5, up from the previous level of 3, which imposed limits on climbing the volcano.
The prime minister’s office in Tokyo set up a response team at its crisis management center, and the Japan Coast Guard dispatched a large patrol ship to the area.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed officials involved to do all they can to ensure the safety of islanders, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.""

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