Death toll crosses 40 after two earthquake’s hit Japan
A total of 41 people were killed and over 2,000 injured as two strong earthquakes — measuring 6.5 and 7.3 on the Richter Scale — rocked Kumamoto prefecture on Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu on Saturday, officials said.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the 6.5-magnitude quake — which was a foreshock to the one measuring 7.3 — killed at least nine people.
At least 32 people were later confirmed dead after the 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocked Kumamoto, Xinhua reported.
In Kumamoto, around 91,000 people were evacuated to over 680 shelters. Over 1,700 houses were damaged, including 1,400 in Nishihara village.
“We are aware of multiple locations where people have been buried alive,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.
“Police, firefighters and Self Defense Force (military) personnel are doing all they can to rescue them.”
More than 90,000 people have been evacuated, including 300 from an area near a dam thought to be at risk of collapse. A hospital was left teetering by the 7.0 quake, with doctors and patients rushed from the building in darkness.
Isolated villages in mountainous areas near the city of Kumamoto were completely cut off by landslides and damage to roads. At least 500 people were believed trapped in one settlement and expected to spend the night in public buildings, reports said.