Sakurajima Volcano Erupts in South Japan




June 5, 2006
SABC News - Auckland Park, South Africa

Photo: Sakurajima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, has erupted near the city of Kagoshima (file photo)

Sakurajima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, has erupted near the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima. Smoke and ash rose high above the island's northern peak 1 117m high as residents of the nearby capital of Kagoshima prefecture looked on. Over 600 000 people live in the shadow of the volcano which is only a few kilometres off the port serving Kagoshima city.

Thousands of small explosions occur each year on Sakurajima, throwing ash thousands of kilometres into the sky. The last major eruption occurred in 1914, though most of the residents fled before the volcano engulfed several islands nearby and swallowed part of the bay of Kagoshima.

The UN has designated Sakurajima as a mountain worthy of particular study due to the presence of a highly densely populated city nearby. The city conducts regular evacuation drills, and a number of shelters have been built where people can take refuge from falling volcanic debris. - Reuters

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