People rushed for cover in a Northern Japanese resort on Tuesday (9 August) as fresh eruptions of a nearby volcano hurled rocks and ash thousands of metres into the sky.
People rushed for cover in a Northern Japanese resort on Tuesday (9 August) as fresh eruptions of a nearby volcano hurled rocks and ash thousands of metres into the sky. Hundreds of people had to flee their homes, but there were no reports of casualties.
SYNOPSIS: Debris from 275 metre Mount Usu has already caused crop damage estimated at six billion yen (13 million dollars sterling). The local meteorological office said it had lost count of the number of eruptions since Sunday (7 August) and warned that there could be more. A rescue party managed to reach a remote village where 200 people were virtually cut off as the volcano, in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, covered it with a one-metre layer of volcanic ash. It made driving very hazardous.
Two resort towns in the foothills were all but ghost towns after hundreds of tourists and residents were evacuated from the cascades of fist-sized rocks.
A small volcano locate south of Lake Toya in Hokkaido erupted again late on Monday (8 August) night, belching fire and smoke high into the night sky. The volcano began erupting on Sunday (7 August) morning and frequent earth tremors continued around the mountain he next day. It showed activity again from Monday (8 August) afternoon. Pillars of fires shot up into the sky, accompanied by thunderclaps. The smoke at one time reached a height of nearly 10,000 metres. Authorities at Date, a city located near the mountain, ordered people in the Kaminagawa district to evacuate to a junior high school and a welfare home.
A convoy of trucks arrived to ferry the residents. Nearly 140 patients were evacuated from a hospital and one woman successfully gave birth in a car that stalled in ash. According to the meteorological office, thick rain clouds over the summit have prevented observations of the eruptions. It said, however, that volcanic ash was falling from the north to the west of Mount Usu. Mount Usu has produced more than 10 major eruptions - the last in 1944 when more than 100 people were either killed or suffered injury. A Government team and meteorologists were due to assess the situation this week.