Japan quakes murder at least twenty-nine; rescuers rush to free trapped

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 11:09 AM

The exact no of casualties remained unclear. Rainfall was forecast to start pounding the area soon, threatening to further complicate the relief operation and set off more mudslides in isolated rural towns, where people were waiting to be rescued in collapsed homes.

Japan quakes murder at least twenty-nine; rescuers rush to free trapped

Two powerful earthquakes a day apart shook southwestern Japan, killing at least twenty-nine people and injuring one.500, as thousands of army troops and other rescuers on Saturday rushed to rescue scores of trapped residents before the weather turns bad.

The exact no of casualties remained unclear. Rainfall was forecast to start pounding the area soon, threatening to further complicate the relief operation and set off more mudslides in isolated rural towns, where people were waiting to be rescued in collapsed homes.

Kumamoto Prefectural official Tomoyuki Tanaka said the death toll was climbing, with the latest standing at nineteenth from Saturday'south 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-six.5 quake that left ten dead.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that 1.500 people have been injured, eighty of them seriously. Nearly 70.000 have left their homes, he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed concern about secondary disasters as the weather forecast showed rain and powerful winds later in the day. Rainfall can set off mudslides as the soil has already been loosened by the quakes.

"Daytime today is the large test" for rescue efforts, he said. Landslides have already slice off roads and destroyed bridges, slowing down rescuers.

Police received reports of ninety-seven cases of people trapped or buried below collapsed buildings, while ten people were caught in landslides in three municipalities in the prefecture, Kyodo News reported.

TV footage showed of a collapsed learner dormitory of Tokai University, which was originally two floors, but presently looked love a single legend building. A witness said he heard a cry for assistance from the rubble. Two students were reported to have died.

In Mashiki, where people have been trapped beneath the rubble for hours, an unconscious elderly woman was dragged out from the debris of her home. Her son-in-law Tatsuhiko Sakata said 93-year-old Yumiko Yamauchi had refused to move to shelter with him after the first quake Thursday.

"When I came to look her latest night, I was asking her: 'Mother? I'm here! Do you recollect me? Do you recollect my face?' and she replied with a enormous smile filled with joy. A kind of smile that I'd never forget. And that was the latest I saw of her," Sakata said.

The area has been rocked by aftershocks, including the strongest with a size of 5.4 Saturday morning. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that Saturday'south may be the main quake, with the earlier one a precursor. The quakes' epicenters have been relatively shallow — about ten kilometers (6 miles) — and near to the surface, resulting in more severe shaking and damage. NHK TV said as many as eight quakes were being felt an hr in the area.

Japanese media reported that nearly 200.000 homes were without electricity. Drinking water systems had also failed in the area. TV footage showed people huddled in blankets, quietly, shoulder to shoulder, on floors of evacuation centers. An estimated 410.000 households are in necessity of water.

One massive landslide tore open a mountainside in Minamiaso village in Kunamato Prefecture all the way from the top to a hwy below. Another gnawed at a highway, collapsing a house that fell down a ravine and smashed at the bottom. In another portion of the village, houses were left hanging precariously at the edge of a enormous hole slice open in the earth.

Suga told reporters the no of troops in the area was being raised to 20.000, while extra police and firefighters were also on the way.

He pleaded with people not to panic. "Please let'south assistance each other and stay calm," he said in a nationally televised news conference.

In a hot springs resort, dozens of people trapped were picked up by military helicopters, Asahi TV reported.

Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan which is located on Kyushu, erupted for the first time in a month, sending smoke rising about one hundred meters (three hundred twenty-eight feet) into the air, but number damage was reported. It wasn't immediately clear if there'south a link the seismic action and the eruption. The 1.592 meter (5.223 foot) high mountain is about 1 ½ hr drive from the epicenter.

The historic Aso Shrine, a picturesque complex close the volcano, was seriously damaged, with a no of buildings with curved tiled roofs flattened on the ground love lopsided fans. A towering gate, known as the "cherry blossom gate" because of its grandeur particularly during spring, had collapsed, totally damaged. The more than 1.700 year-old shrine is designated an "important cultural property" by the government, and has been a favorite tourist spot in Kyushu.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority reported number abnormalities at Kyushu'south Sendai nuclear plant.

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, E of the castle, hotel guests woke up to powerful shaking and a warning siren.

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