Southern Japan is expecting intense aftershocks for the next days as a consequence of a magnitude-6.5 quake that struck Kumamoto on Thursday night, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. There were nine dead and more than 1,000 injured in the region, by Friday.
Institutions have registered 148 aftershocks since the seismic movement struck at 9:26 p.m on Thursday. The Asian country has its own seismic scale that measures intensity. According to the agency, the quake reached the maximum level in Kumamoto, as reported by the Japan Times.
At the same time, a government task force in charge of earthquakes investigation calculates that there’s a 0.9 percent probability that a 7.0-magnitude quake will take place on the Futagawa fault (where the quake started), in the next 30 days.
Katsuhiko Ishibashi, professor emeritus of seismology at Kobe University said to the Japan Times that rescue officers should be careful about future aftershocks, that could surpass the quake occurred Thursday.
“There is no guarantee that further shaking won’t be stronger than that of Thursday night, so rescuers and evacuees need to be extremely careful. With many active faults still undiscovered, it would not be surprising for a similar quake to occur anywhere in Japan.” he said.
Several areas of Kumamoto have been considerably affected by the quake, including the town of Mashiki, the capital and the Kumamoto Castle. Currently, emergency officials are rescuing people trapped under debris, however operations are sometimes interrupted by aftershocks, said the Japan times.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will head to Kumamoto on Saturday, as confirmed by the Emergency Response Headquarters in Tokyo, according CNN. The minister said that he wants to see the city with his own eyes and speak directly to the victims.
An 8-month-old infant was rescued from the debris, nearly 7 hours after the quake
The baby was among the rubble of a collapsed house in Mashiki. On thursday, fifty policemen and firefighters could rescue her, after six and half hours of the earthquake. It was not an easy task, due to continuous aftershocks.
A spokesman for the Kumamoto Higashi fire department told CNN that “it was a miracle she was unharmed”. It appears that the baby was sleeping downstairs, when the 2-floor home collapsed. Her mother and her grandmother could also escape.
The U.S. Geological Survey said that the ground shook for nearly 20 seconds before the quake stopped. By Friday, 44,449 people have evacuated the area. Geologists said that even when the magnitude does not appears extreme, she shallow depth of the quake — 6.2 miles — is relevant.
Source: Japan Times