Close  

Twin quakes kill at least 29 in south Japan; many trapped

/ 11:06 AM April 16, 2016
Stones from a wall of Kumamoto Castle lie in the street following an earthquake, Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Kumamoto, southern Japan. A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 struck southern Japan early Saturday, barely 24 hours after a smaller quake hit the same region and killed several people.  Yohei Nishimura / Kyodo News via AP

Stones from a wall of Kumamoto Castle lie in the street following an earthquake, Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Kumamoto, southern Japan. A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 struck southern Japan early Saturday, barely 24 hours after a smaller quake hit the same region and killed several people. Yohei Nishimura / Kyodo News via AP

MASHIKI, Japan — Two powerful earthquakes a day apart shook southwestern Japan, killing at least 29 people, trapping many others beneath flattened homes and sending thousands of residents to seek refuge in gymnasiums and hotel lobbies.

The exact number of casualties remained unclear as rescue efforts continued to unfold Saturday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kumamoto Prefectural official Tomoyuki Tanaka said the death tolls were climbing by the hour, with the latest standing at 19 from Saturday’s magnitude-7.3 quake that shook the Kumamoto region on the southwestern island of Kyushu at 1:25 a.m. On Thursday night, Kyushu was hit by a magnitude-6.5 quake that left 10 dead and more than 800 injured. Tanaka said reports on injuries were changing fast and he did not yet have any number.

READ: Fresh quake, magnitude-5.4, strikes south Japan

A series of aftershocks ensued, including a magnitude-5.4 Saturday morning. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that the quake that struck earlier Saturday may be the main quake, with the earlier one a precursor. The quakes’ epicenters have been relatively shallow — about 10 kilometers (6 miles) — and close to the surface, resulting in more severe shaking and damage.

Japanese media reported that nearly 200,000 homes were without electricity. Drinking water systems had also failed in the area. Japanese TV news footage showed people huddled in blankets, quietly, shoulder to shoulder, on floors of evacuation centers.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, in an emergency news conference early Saturday, said more than 300 calls came in to the Kumamoto police and another 100 to police in nearby Oita, seeking help and reporting people trapped or buried underneath debris. He said 1,600 soldiers joined rescue efforts. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said damage from the magnitude-7.3 quake could be extensive.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority reported no abnormalities at Kyushu’s Sendai nuclear plant.

Public broadcaster NHK TV showed stones tumbled from the walls of historic Kumamoto Castle, and a wooden structure in the complex was smashed. At the Ark Hotel, east of the castle, hotel guests woke up to strong shaking and a warning siren. Hotel staff told guests, including tourists and journalists covering the quake, to evacuate their rooms and gather in the lobby for safety.

A bright spot, broadcast repeatedly on television Friday, was the overnight rescue of an apparently uninjured baby, wrapped in a blanket and carried out of the rubble of a home.

Saturday’s quake hit residents who were still in shock from the previous night’s earthquake and had suffered through more than 100 aftershocks.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yuichiro Yoshikado said Thursday’s quake stuck as he was taking a bath in his apartment in Mashiki.

“I grabbed onto the sides of the bathtub, but the water in the tub, it was about 70 percent filled with water, was going like this,” he said, waving his arms, “and all the water splashed out.”

“It’s as if all control was lost. I thought I was going to die and I couldn’t bear it any longer.”

Yoshikado, whose building was undamaged despite the intense shaking, checked the damage at his aunt and uncle’s home nearby. Kitchenware was scattered on the floor, and a clock had stopped around 9:26 p.m., the time of Thursday’s quake.

The latest victim of Thursday’s quake was killed in a fire in the city of Yatsushiro, the Kumamoto prefecture said, adding that two other people were in a state of heart and lung failure. The nine other dead included five women and four men, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

READ: 2nd strong quake hits southern Japan; some reported trapped

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: disaster, Earthquake, Japan
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
sports

Abando, Chabi Yo lift UST over NU in OT

September 15, 2019 04:40 PM

newsinfo

Camarines Sur village chief survives gun attack

September 15, 2019 03:59 PM

newsinfo

Some domestic flights canceled due to bad weather

September 15, 2019 03:28 PM



© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.