Residents near Japanese volcano urged to evacuate
TOKYO (Reuters) - More than 2,500 people living near a volcano that has been spewing ash in southern Japan were advised to evacuate their homes Thursday after heavy rain threatened mudslides of accumulated ash, a local official said.
Shinmoedake began erupting in late January, in its biggest activity in some 300 years. The volcanic activity has disrupted airline flights and blanketed nearby vegetable farms with ash, but there have been no reports of serious injury or deaths.
The Japan Meteorological Agency expected rainfall of more than 4 mm (0.16 inch) per hour to last until Thursday night, an amount that the local government said could cause mudslides.