Japan’s volcano Mount Aso has begun to erupt, sending plumes of smoke and ash spreading kilometers into the sky.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, no immediate injuries, casualties or damage were reported so far from the blaze, which occurred at approximately 11.43 a.m. (JST). Officials have issued a warning of lava flowing in the area.
The volcano, which is said to be the largest in the world, ejected ash plumes up to 3.5 km (2.2 mi) high.
The 1,592 meter mountain is a major tourist destination and is said to be the largest active volcano in the island country. Its circumference is 120 km (75 mi).
Officials raised the alert level for volcanic activity from five to three and urged people not to venture into the affected area, including the villages of Takamori and Minami-Aso.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has instructed the federal administration to prioritize the safety of human life amid a volcanic eruption.
There is a risk of large rocks falling from the mountain and pyroclastic flows of lava up to a 1 km radius around the mountain’s Nakadake crater.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said in Tokyo that officials were still working to investigate whether climbers were on the slopes at the time of the explosion.
Preliminary visuals of nearby inhabited areas shared on social media showed the extent of the volcanic eruption. In a video, a thick dark cloud can be seen surrounding the mountain and slowly spreading.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, there is a possibility of remnant ash falling in nearby cities until late afternoon.
Several countries, such as Canada and Australia, issued warnings to citizens who could possibly be present at tourist sites and asked them to monitor local news updates.
Mount Aso is prone to erupting, a similar volcanic activity was witnessed in 2019. In the worst volcanic disaster in nearly 90 years, the eruption of the country’s Mount Ontake killed at least 63 people in September 2014.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /