Earthquake rocks southern Japan

April 27th, 2016



Thousands of individuals are fleeing the country after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Southern Japan on Saturday, April 16. Nine people have been confirmed dead, eight people are in serious condition and more than 850 individuals were injured.


43 people are reportedly trapped and 23 people have been buried alive. This occurred after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Thursday, April 14, The Guardian reported.


The earthquake struck near Kuamoto city, on the island of Kyushu around 9:26 p.m. Japan time, at a depth of 11 kilometers. The most affected area was in the town of Mashiki, which is 15 kilometers east of Kyushu. Luckily, there is no risk of a tsunami, according to The Associated Press.


Thousands of people evacuated their homes and gathered outside Mashiki town hall and sat on tarps until the middle of the night. Some people were wrapped in blankets while being faced with frigid temperatures. Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, told reporters that the Japanese government has mobilized police, firefighters and self-defense troops, according to NBC News.


The Japan Broadcasting Corporation, also known as the NHK, reported the entire area of Kumamoto city, with a population about 730,000, is out of water. Nishihara village is being evacuated because there are fears that a nearby dam may break. CBC states that officials are considering moving patients from hospitals that they fear to be unstable from the quake.


The Japan Meteorological Agency warned citizens that it is likely that Japan will face strong aftershocks during the next week. People are advised to stay away from buildings that look unstable, The Guardian reported.


Many are concerned with how the earthquake will affect the volcanic activity. The island of Kyushu is a vastly volcanic area. The Guardian mentioned that a level two warning has been placed for this area, meaning that people should not approach the volcano’s crater.


Gavin Hayes, a research geophysicist working for the U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado, told BBC News that the latest earthquake would delay the earlier rescue plan that was already in store after the first hit of the quake. He stated that more damage could have been probable if the earthquake had been shallower, and if the fault-line was larger.


“The ground surface would have moved in the region of four to five meters. So, you are talking very intense shaking over quite a large area. And that’s why we’ll probably see a significant impact from this event” said Hayes to BBC News.


The Guardian states that the intensity of this earthquake is equivalent to the earthquake that struck eastern Japan in March 2011. However, the damage caused in the island of Kyushu is not as significant as the past earthquake.


Members of the United States military have joined forces with 25,000 Japanese troops, medics and firefighters. The troops are sending water and tents to those who have evacuated the dangerous area.


Editor’s Note: Information from BBC News, ABC News, The Guardian, The Japan Broadcasting Company, NBC News and The Associated Press was used in this report.