14 Avril 2016
April 14, 2016
A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 struck Kumamoto Prefecture and surrounding areas in Kyushu Thursday evening, the Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued.
The quake, which registered the highest 7 on the Japanese earthquake intensity scale, jolted Kumamoto at around 9:26 p.m.
In the town of Mashiki in Kumamoto Prefecture, local authorities said more than 20 homes have collapsed and several people are trapped under debris, including a woman who had lost consciousness. Several fires has also broken out in the town.
More than 100 people were being treated for injuries at three hospitals in Kumamoto City, hospital officials said. And one person was reported injured in each of the neighboring prefectures of Saga and Miyazaki, police there said.
Places around Kumamoto also recorded strong jolts ranging between 3 and lower 5 on the Japanese scale.
A number of similarly shallow aftershocks followed, including one of a preliminary magnitude 6.4 — and upper 6 on the Japanese seismic scale — that hit the area shortly after midnight. Another measuring magnitude 5.7 occurred shortly after 10 p.m.
NHK footage showed cameras set up on top of buildings swaying hard as the first temblor hit the region.
The weather agency said the earthquake is believed to have struck at a depth of 10 km.
JR Kyushu suspended all operations on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line following the quake. On the Sanyo Shinkansen Line connecting the Honshu mainland and Kyushu, power was lost between Hakata and Kokura stations but operations later resumed at around 9:40 p.m.
Following the quake, Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it found no abnormalities in its Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. The operator said it is further looking into any possible damage.
Shikoku Electric Power Co. said its Ikata nuclear plant, which is currently idled, sustained no damage from the Kumamoto quake.
Kumamoto police said reports of damaged roads were coming in to police and fire stations in the city of Kumamoto.
In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately set up an emergency headquarters and instructed relevant authorities to gather information.
At a hastily arranged news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government was doing its utmost to get a full picture of the situation, adding that its top priority was the rescue operations.
According to the weather agency, the Kumamoto quake is the first intensity-7 quake since the Great East Japan Earthquake that wreaked havoc in the Tohoku region in March 2011.