Friday, April 15, 2016

Death toll rises to 9 after strong quakes hit Kumamoto, SW Japan

Local police confirmed that nine people were killed after powerful quakes hit Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan at late Thursday and early Friday, while over 400 people were taken to hospitals.

Local media said that some 23,000 people were taking shelter at about 350 sites in the prefecture, according to reports.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) revised the first quake from 6.4 magnitude to 6.5. The quake was logged at level 7 of the Japan seismic intensity scale of 7 in Mashiki town at the Kumamoto Prefecture, marking the first since the devastating earthquake in March 2011.

The epicenter of the M6.5 quake was detected at 32.7 degree north latitude and 130.8 degree longitude with a depth of 11 km, said the JMA.

  • Strong aftershocks, including one measured at 5.7 magnitude at around 10:07 pm Thursday and 6.4 magnitude at 0:08 am Friday, are continuing jolting the area after the M6.5 quake, said the JMA, warning there may be strong aftershocks in the coming week.

A total of 19 buildings damaged and collapsed in the affected area. Several people who trapped under the rubbles were rescued.

No abnormalities were found in the Sendai nuclear power plant, the only operating nuclear facility in the area, said local reports, adding the quake also not affected volcanic activities at Mount. Also in Kumamoto Prefecture.

The quake triggered blackout in the region affecting about 16,000 households. Traffic is stopped on some expressways in Kumamoto and Miyazaki Prefectures and parts of local roads were damaged, said local reports.

The Japanese government has set up a special group to gather information on injuries and damage, said top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga. He also called on affected people to remain calm and help each other.
  [Xinhua -]

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