Located in the center of the Japanese island of Kuchinoerabu, Mount Shindake erupted before 10am local time, reported the Japan Meteorological Agency. The volcano was seen emitting large plumes of smoke about 9,000 meters (29,527 feet) into the sky.
The island's population is 147. A .gif of the eruption: pic.twitter.com/NFrmcnwcqW
— Nippon.com (@nippon_en) May 29, 2015
Once the volcano’s eruptions were confirmed, the agency raised its eruption-alert level from three to its highest level of five.
All 147 residents that live on the island have been advised to evacuate as pyroclastic flows, dense currents of rock fragments and hot gases from the volcano have begun to reach the island’s northwest shore.
Kuchinoerabu island is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the main island of Kyushu. Transport from Kuchinoerabu island is limited as it can only be reached by a once-daily ferry from Yakushima island, which is 19 kilometers (12 miles) to the east of Kuchinoerabu.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for an emergency response team and a self-defense force team to be dispatched to the island. Abe also told local authorities to fully protect the islanders and assist them in reaching safety.
The island itself is an active volcano with the last eruption occurring in August of last year.