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Super typhoon Nanmadol batters southern Japan, ‘forcing more than 8 million to flee their homes’

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As an intense typhoon batters southern Japan with torrential rain and gales, authorities have ordered millions people to evacuate their homes, according to local reports.

Public broadcaster NHK said local governments have now ordered more than eight million people in southern and western Japan to flee due to Typhoon Nanmadol, which has already triggered power blackouts and flight cancellations.

Officials issued the highest grade on Japan’s disaster warning scale – a level 5 alert – to more than 330,000 people in Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Oita prefectures, NHK said.

The level 4 alert that prompts the evacuation order for eight million people affects 3.7 million households in parts of the Kyushu, Shikoku and Chugoku regions.

Weather forecasters have warned of strong winds and high waves “like never experienced before”, with the threat of rivers overflowing, high waves, violent winds and landslides.

Typhoon Nanmadol, classified as a super typhoon by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, has been slowly heading north to the country’s main southern island of Kyushu.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the area faces being deluged by 500mm (20in) of rain and wind gusts of up to 155mph (250kph) on Sunday.

It also warned residents of “unprecedented” levels of powerful winds and waves in some areas, urging them to evacuate early.

Nanmadol is expected to turn east and reach Tokyo on Tuesday before moving out to sea.

In affected areas, thousands of residents have taken shelter at evacuation centres.

Kyushu Electric Power Company said more than 93,000 homes across the island were without electricity on Sunday because of damage to power lines.

Hundreds of domestic flights in and out of the region have been cancelled and more are planned to be grounded in western Japan until Tuesday.

Public transport, including rail services and buses, have also been suspended along with the famous bullet train.

Hundreds of shops have closed in the face of the extreme weather.

Courtesy of Sky News

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La Palma’s airport forced to close as second volcanic vent opens, spewing more ash across the Spanish Island

Volcano Alert

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Authorities have closed La Palma’s airport as a new vent opened in an erupting volcano, spreading more ash across the island.

Flights to and from the Spanish island have been cancelled as a result of the volcanic eruption that has lasted nearly a week.

Rivers of lava poured down the slopes of the volcano and flew high into the air as the eruption entered its most explosive stage after a new vent opened on Saturday.

La Palma Airport operator Aena said on Twitter that plane traffic was suspended “due to the accumulation of ash” in the air.

Other airports in the Canary Islands are still operational, the company added.

Workers wearing PPE cleared up the ash as travellers attempted to change their tickets to get on the next available flights.

Other passengers opted to travel by ferry to another island in the Canaries where they could catch flights.

The intensity of the eruptions has increased in recent days, prompting the evacuation of three additional villages on the island. Almost 7,000 people have had to leave their homes.

“Volcanic surveillance measurements carried out since the beginning of the eruption recorded the highest-energy activity so far during Friday afternoon,” emergency services said.

Emergency crews pulled back from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on Friday as explosions sent molten rock and ash over a wide area.

Lava flows have destroyed hundreds of buildings on the island’s western side.

Residents there were initially told to stay indoors but emergency services said they decided to take more serious precautions due to increased volcanic activity.

On a visit to La Palma on Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a package of measures to help get the island back on its feet and “rebuild lives”.

he Spanish government will provide aid for rebuilding homes and public infrastructure, such as roads, irrigation networks and schools, as well as relaunching the island’s tourism industry, Mr Sanchez said.

He did not say how much money would be made available but said a cabinet meeting next week would provide more details.

No serious injuries or fatalities have been reported amid the volcano’s eruption, but about 15% of the island’s economically crucial banana crop could be at risk of destruction.

Courtesy of Sky News

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