At least nine people died when an earthquake shook the Kyushu island in southwestern Japan late Thursday, the Kumamoto Prefecture disaster management office said. Investigation crews scrambled to dig through rubble trying to find people.
Dozens of smaller aftershocks followed.”The earth shook for about 20 seconds before the 6.2-magnitude quake ceased,” witness Lim Ting Jie said.
Two deaths happened in Mashiki, the Kumamoto Prefecture office said. One person died in a house that was collapsed, and also the other perished in a fire resulting from the quake. Journalist Mike Fern told CNN that fire had been either failed or caught by scores of buildings, while the tremors in one case, derailed a bullet train, tore up roads and triggered landslides.
Almost 800 people were injured, 50 gravely. The prefecture office said 44,449 individuals had evacuated. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament that he’d marshalled of Japan’s Self Defense Force, police members 3,000 and fire service to join the rescue effort overnight .
He said the government is “rushing against the clock and will supply more staff if needed.”