Seven people were unconscious and eight suffered serious injuries after a volcano erupted in central Japan shortly before noon on Saturday, according to local media.
Ash spewed from the volcano, named the Ontake that straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures in central Japan, has accumulated about 50 cm at the top of the mountain, said local reports, adding the ash would fall into prefectures of Nagano, Gifu and Yamanashi this evening.
According to footage by Japan’s broadcaster NHK, thick gray smoke has spewed up into sky.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) upgraded its 5-stage volcanic alert level to 3, which urges people not to approach the mountain, reported Japan’s broadcaster NHK.
Local fire department said that they have received several emergency calls on injured climbers and about 250 hikers were trapped on the mountain and in a hotel near the top of the volcano.
The JMA is forecasting further eruptions that may affect nearby residents and is warning of large volcanic cinders falling within a 4 km radius of the crater, said Japan’s Kyodo News.
The volcano’s last eruption was in 1979 when it expelled over 200,000 tons of ash. It also went through a minor eruption in 1991 and caused multiple volcanic earthquakes in 2007, reports said.
Unrelated to Typhoon Neoguri the rainy season front as brought severe flooding and landslides across northern Japan.
The worst has been in the Hokoriku region where over 30,000 people have been told to evacuate. One location in the region “鹿児島県 与論島” 300mm of rainfall in the past 24hrs alone.
In Nagano several landslides have left at least one dead and 4 injured.
The first landslide occurred around 5PM JST. One boy died in this large slide while four more (his family) was hospitalized.
Another landslide destroyed at least 5 homes in Nagano. This one was reported to be hundreds of meters long along a steep hill side in to a river bed. More information is still be gathered on any injuries that could have occurred. Image below is the second slide.
The rain is expected to continue through the next several days in northern Japan and even worsen as typhoon Neoguri tracks north bringing showers across all of Japan.