Friday, May 29, 2015

Kuchinoerabu island in Japan evacuated after Mount Shindake volcano erupts

Click HERE to read this article in Japanese

Today, on Friday, 29th March, 2015, Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu island suddenly erupted.
TV footage captured the moment Mount Shindake exploded, sending columns of thick, black smoke high into the air. Mount Shindake, located about 650 metres above sea level, erupted in August 2014 for the first time since 1980.

Japan’s meteorological agency raised the alert level to five – the highest on its scale – and ordered the island’s 140 residents to evacuate.

The agency said no injuries or damage had been reported following the eruption, which occurred eight months after 57 people died after Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted without warning.

Pyroclastic flows, dense currents of rock fragments and hot gases from the volcano had reached the island’s north-west shore.

Shindake Volcano eruption

In Tokyo, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, set up an emergency response team and dispatched a self-defence forces to the island. Abe said he had instructed local authorities to do “everything possible” to ensure the islanders’ safety.

Yoshihide Suga, the government’s chief spokesman, said a coast guard vessel had also been sent to help residents evacuate.
Photo taken from the neighboring island of Yakushima by Itaru Takaku

Kuchinoerabu island is located about 80km (50 miles) south-west of the main island of Kyushu, and can be reached only by a once-a-day ferry from Yakushima island, 19km (12 miles) to the east.

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