7.1 scale quake hits south Japan, people trapped | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

7.1 scale quake hits south Japan, people trapped

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Mashiki – A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 struck southern Japan early Saturday, barely 24 hours after a smaller quake hit the same region and killed nine people.
Japanese broadcaster NHK said a number of calls were coming in from residents reporting people being trapped inside houses and buildings.The quake shook the Kumamoto region at 1:25 a.m. Saturday, and several aftershocks soon followed. Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued an advisory for a tsunami up to 1 meter (3 feet) high along the coast west of the epicenter in Kumamoto; the advisory was lifted less than an hour later.
Sirens of patrol vehicles were heard on the background as NHK reported from the hardest-hit town of Mashiki. The asphalt ground outside the town hall had a new crack, apparently made by the latest earthquake.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said no abnormalities were found at the Sendai nuclear plant, where the only two of Japan’s 43 operable reactors are online.
Thursday’s weaker, magnitude 6.5 earthquake brought down buildings and injured about 800 people, in addition to the nine deaths. The epicenter of Saturday’s earthquake was about 12 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of Thursday’s, and at a depth of about 10 kilometers (6 miles), Saturday’s quake was more shallow.
It hit residents who were still in shock from the previous night’s horrors and had suffered through more than 100 aftershocks in the interim.
On Friday, Yuichiro Yoshikado described the horror of the earthquake striking as he was taking a bath in his Mashiki apartment.
“I grabbed onto the sides of the bathtub, but the water in the tub, it was about 70 percent filled with water, was going like this,” he said, waving his arms, “and all the water splashed out.”
“It’s as if all control was lost. I thought I was going to die and I couldn’t bear it any longer.”
A bright spot broadcast repeatedly on television Friday was the overnight rescue of an apparently uninjured baby, wrapped in a blanket and carried out of the rubble of a collapsed home.
Police said Friday that concern about aftershocks was keeping many people from starting the huge task of cleaning up. Since Saturday’s quake was bigger, Thursday’s was technically a foreshock.
Yoshikado, whose building was undamaged despite the intense shaking, checked the damage at his aunt and uncle’s home nearby. Kitchenware was scattered on the floor, and a clock had stopped around 9:26 p.m., the time of the earthquake. Power and water have yet to be restored, and many in the neighborhood have yet to return because of the aftershocks.
About 44,000 people stayed in shelters after Thursday’s quake.
The dead included five women and four men, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. One man was in his 20s, and the rest of the victims ranged from their 50s to one woman in her 90s. Eight of the nine victims were from Mashiki. – AP/UNB

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