Once again, a volcano has erupted in Japan. This time on the tiny southern Japanese island of Kuchinoerabu at 10 am local time on Friday morning, forcing authorities to start the process of evacuation on the island and re-route the flights due to heavy smoke generate by the volcanic eruption.
As per the latest updates, more than 140 people have been ordered to evacuate the island after the Japan’s meteorological agency raised the alert level to five. However, the agency reported that no loss of life has occurred yet, also no injuries have been reported.
Agency further added that Mount Shindake is erupting very rapidly as pyroclastic flows, dense currents of rock fragments and hot gases from the volcano had reached the island’s north-west shore.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set up an emergency response team to evacuate the islanders. Abe has also dispatched self-defence forces to the island and said that everything possible will be done to ensure the safety of the islanders.
A local official reported that the volcano erupted without a warning with a loud sound and suddenly huge black smoke started coming out darkening the sky. As a result more than 100 people were forced to take shelter at an evacuation centre. “There was a really loud sound of an explosion, and then black smoke rose, darkening the sky,” Nobuaki Hayashi told the national broadcaster NHK. “It smells of sulphur.” He further added that some people are still to be accounted while some have not yet reached the evacuation centre as they were travelling by boat.
Kuchinoerabu island is situated nearly 80 km south-west of the main island of Kyushu and can only be reached by ship that travels once a day from Yakushima island, 19km to the east.
Previously, Mount Ontake erupted back in September last year without giving a warning resulting in 57 deaths and more than 100 injuries. Following the incident Japanese authorities were facing criticism for failing in issuing warning of increased volcano activity. As a result, authorities had become more precautious and had recently closed part of a popular hot spring resort about 80 kilometres from Tokyo amid fears that nearby Mount Hakone could erupt.