Another earthquake hit Southern Japan early Saturday, killing 28 people and injuring more than 900. This time, the magnitude increased to 7.3. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that it was more potent than the temblor that killed nine people on Thursday, in Kumamoto.
The quake took place at 1:25 am, with an intensity classified over the level 6, on Japan’s seismic scale of 7. Emergency officials report that there are people trapped among debris or collapsed structures, according to the Japan Times.
The Meteorological Agency predicts heavy rain for the upcoming days, which could affect buildings already spoiled and cause more landslides. Harsh seismic movements caused a rockslide that dragged away homes and disrupted a national highway in Minamiaso, a village in the Kumamoto prefecture.
Thursday’s quake mostly impacted antique structures in the town of Mashiki. However, the new 7.3-quake affected newer buildings that collapsed. The epicenter was in the “area around the city of Kumamoto,” with a depth of 7.4 miles (12 km).
The agency explained that the Saturday’s quake is “the main quake,” while previous seismic movements like the occurred in Thursday, are now understood as foreshocks. Last time a 7.3-magnitude quake struck Japan was in 1995 when 6,400 people died in Great Hanshin-Awaji.
The ‘main quake’
By Saturday morning, there were 97 people trapped under collapsed buildings and 10 people confined in landslides in three municipalities in Kumamoto. The Kumamoto Municipal Government reported that four student buildings near Tokai University’s Aso Campus, broke down and killed at least two students, according to the Japan Times.
On Friday, before the main quake occurred, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the government would send as much rescue units as possible. Moreover, people affected in Kumamoto would be provided with the necessary support, he added.
“We have plenty of supplies now, but it will not be so if this center needs to exist for a longer time. I don’t know when this will end, but probably not until the lifelines get back to normal,” said Hiroto Yasuda of the Public Health Division at the Mashiki Municipal Government, according to the Japan Times.
The central government said that about 91,763 people had to evacuate their homes, and are being located in 686 temporary shelters in the Kumamoto Prefecture. At the same time, the water supplies were interrupted in more than 380,000 homes, while 200,000 were affected by power outages.
Prime Minister Abe had said he would visit Kumamoto, to see what had happened with his own eyes, and speak directly to the victims. However, his trip was cancelled after the new quake struck the region
Source: Japan Times