On Saturday, the whole of Kumamoto Prefecture in southern Japan went through frightening moments. Its people heard and felt the volcanic eruption of Mount Aso. The powerful explosion sent ashes flying almost 7 miles high into the air.
Fortunately, no one was injured. Only a few windows in nearby towns were hit by flying rocks, but a lot of buildings were covered in volcanic ash.
In one city, also named Aso, evacuation centers were set up, although this is just a precaution. The area surrounding the whole mountain is now restricted to visitors. Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned of the dangerous toxic gas that may be emanating following the volcanic eruption.
The people from the surrounding area are now busy cleaning the ashes. Though no one was injured, the Kumamoto Prefecture was still recovering from the earthquakes of April 2016. At least 49 people were killed then, and more than 3,000 injured, after a magnitude 6.2 foreshock, and devastating magnitude 7.0 mainshock two days later.
No connection has been made between the tragic earthquakes and the recent volcano activity.
Unfortunately, the volcano eruption couldn’t have come at worse time. While it did not injure anyone, it has certainly hurt the area’s economy, which relies mainly on tourism. The region is especially popular during fall when it brings a lot of tourists from other Asian countries. The area around the volcano itself was a popular hiking spot.
Hundreds of hotel reservations were quickly canceled after news of the eruption broke. The people are becoming desperate, as business is plummeting.
The worst part is that the volcano may erupt again, without any warning. After the terrifying experience of April, when a bigger earthquake followed the first one two days later, the people know that this is no time to relax.
The Kumamoto Prefecture is located on the Kyushu, the most southern of Japan’s islands. 21% of its total land area has been designated as natural parks. Combined with its rich history, tourism should be booming, but unfortunately, tourists are becoming more scared of what was once called the “land of fire.”
Located on what the world knows as “The Ring of Fire,” Japan is in constant danger of volcanic and seismic activity. The country is home to 110 active volcanoes.
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