Residents around erupting volcano in Japan asked to evacuate

Miyazaki (Japan), Jan 31 (Kyodo) Local officials in asouthwestern Japanese town have recommended that about 500households evacuate, saying avalanches of earth and rockscould occur around the erupting Mt Shinmoe volcano on theborder of Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures.

The town of Takaharu in Miyazaki Prefecture issued therecommendation for about 1,100 residents at around midnightSunday after the Miyazaki Local Meteorological Observatorysaid the lava dome on the 1,421-meter volcano in the Kirishimamountain range has been rising lately.

About 610 people have been evacuated to four shelters asof Monday morning, according to the town.

The Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory, however,said the degree of risk is not high enough to issue such arecommendation.

According to the Kagoshima observatory, satellite imagesof the volcano show that the lava dome, which was 100 metersin diameter on Thursday, grew to about 500 meters in diameteron Saturday.

At Mt Shinmoe, small eruptions have continued since ashand rocks were spewed in the first major volcanic eruption in189 years last week, disrupting traffic and local residents''lives.

Meanwhile, the Japan Meteorological Agency revised itsexclusion order for the volcano, warning of large volcanicstones falling in areas within a 3-kilometer radius from thevolcano''s crater. Previously, it had warned people to stayaway from areas with a 2-km radius. (Kyodo)

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