Kagoshima holds annual disaster drill for Mount Sakurajima

Kyodo

The city and prefecture of Kagoshima held the 46th annual disaster drill Tuesday to prepare for a large-scale eruption of Mount Sakurajima.

This year, Korean and Chinese were added to evacuation advisory languages.

Last August, the eruption warning level for the temperamental volcano was raised to 4 on the 5-point scale, which means residents must be ready to evacuate.

Some foreign tourists were unaware of the warning and entered areas that had been declared off-limits.

In Tuesday’s drill, an evacuation advisory was aired through speakers around the island in Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese.

Local residents and some 150 organizations took part. Following a disaster warning conducted by city officials, participants were evacuated from the island by ferry.

“Since I live by myself and have difficulty walking, I would like to make sure I understand the proper process of evacuation,” said Yasu Nakahara, 87, a resident who took part in the drill.

Considering the challenge last year of locating residents who went to places other than designated evacuation centers, participants in the drill were asked to hand over cards showing where they were headed before boarding the ferry.

The Meteorological Agency reported that volcanic activity had slowed since the last major eruption in September. As of Tuesday, the warning level stood at 2, which means people should not approach the crater.