Japan evacuation as volcano erupts – highest alert level issued over 'serious' danger

According to Volcano Discovery at 11.17am UTC, Sakurajima volcano erupted on Sunday after previous eruptions earlier in the year. Pictures on social media from live cameras near Tarumizu City show smoke and lava.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a level 5 volcano warning, meaning evacuation.

Residents of Kagoshima City have been told to leave the area, after previously being told to avoid “entering the danger zone”.

Public television channel NHK reported no damage as of publication, but added volcanic stones could be seen raining down up to 1.5 miles away from the site.

Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, has instructed the Government to take steps to protect lives. 

The volcano is the historically active centre of the larger complex of the Aira caldera volcano.

Located across Kagoshima Bay, which separates the city and the volcano by 4.2 km of water, its summit is only 8 km east of the city of Kagoshima with a population of half a million.

Due to its explosive potential, it is considered a very dangerous volcano and is closely monitored.

The largest historical eruptions of Sakurajima took place during 1471-76 and in 1914.

Unlike the ash produced by burning wood and other organic materials, volcanic ash can be dangerous.

Its particles are very hard and usually have jagged edges and, as a result, it can cause eye, nose, and lung irritation, as well as breathing problems.

While in the air, ash can cause problems for jet engines, forcing airlines to cancel flights through the affected area.

An ashfall that leaves a thick layer of ash may cause roofs to collapse, clog gutters, and interfere with air conditioning units.

Animals in an area coated by volcanic ash may have difficulty finding food, as the plants in the region may be covered in ash.

Ash can also contaminate water supplies.

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