Continuing aftershocks in southwestern Japan are reminding people of the earthquake that rocked the region the night before.
Nine people are dead and more than 1,100 others injured. The magnitude 6.5 quake also registered the highest possible intensity on the Japanese seismic scale.
It hit Kumamoto Prefecture Thursday night. Officials say about 16,000 people have evacuated. Many people in Mashiki, where the strongest jolt was recorded, have gathered at the municipal office to get daily necessities.
Self-Defense Force members are preparing food and supplying water and blankets. Some people had to spend the whole night outside because of the danger of buildings collapsing.
A famous landmark and cultural asset, the Kumamoto Castle was also damaged. About 11,000 houses are without electricity and more than 58,000 without water. The gas supply has been shut off for a part of Kumamoto City for safety reasons.
Shinkansen bullet train service is suspended as well. The quake derailed one of the trains. Since it was on its way to the garage, there were no passengers on board and no one was hurt.
Highways cracked and crumbled in many areas. Some sections are closed. Flights have been disrupted at Kumamoto Airport.
The quake struck the region where Japan’s only online nuclear plant is located. Officials say there are no irregularities with the 2 reactors at the Sendai plant and they remain in operation.
The quake happened in the Futagawa-Hinagu fault zone. Experts believe the fault lines slipped sideways, causing the strong tremor at Mashiki town.
More than 130 aftershocks have been felt in the region.
Source and image: NHK