Japan – Earthquake

VIDEO: Rescuers Scramble for Survivors after Deadly Earthquake Hits Japan

Fri Apr 15, 2016 14:37:51

Rescuers were rifling through the remains of collapsed building in southern Japan on Friday, after a powerful earthquake left at least nine people dead and injured hundreds, sparking fires and buckling roads.

Tens of thousands of people fled their homes after the 6.5-magnitude quake struck the southwestern island of Kyushu on Thursday night, leaving lumps of broken concrete strewn in the streets.

Houses collapsed, factories stopped work and a high-speed train was de-railed, while the roof of the treasured Kumamoto castle in the southern city of the same name was also damaged.

“There was a ka-boom and the whole house shook violently sideways,” Takahiko Morita, a resident of nearby town Mashiki, said in a telephone interview with public broadcaster NHK.

“Furniture and bookshelves fell down, and books were all over the floor.”

Dozens of aftershocks followed the quake, which hit about 9:26 pm (1226 GMT) on Thursday evening, and officials warned the death toll could rise as rescuers scoured the collapsed structures.

As rescue workers toiled through the night, an eight-month-old baby girl was pulled from the rubble alive and unharmed, NHK reported.

“As far as we can tell from infrared images from a police helicopter, there appears to be a significant number of houses destroyed or half-collapsed,” said disaster minister Taro Kono.

“There are fears the number of injured could rise.”

Rescuers are concentrating their searches in Mashiki, a town near the epicentre of the quake where most deaths have been recorded.

On the streets, the remains of collapsed Japanese-style houses — many of then aged, wooden structures — could be seen, and damaged roof tiles lay in piles.

Scores of people spent the night huddled in front of the town hall, some in tears, while others wrapped themselves in blankets to ward off the nighttime chill.

“I’m so scared of the aftershocks that I cannot sleep,” 94-year-old Tomiko Takahashi told Jiji Press.

S/SH 11

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