TOKYO — A second deadly earth quake has rattled southern Japan, collapsing buildings and a highway bridge and sending panicked residents onto the streets.
At least 12 people are reported to have been killed, local official Takayuki Matsushita said, and many more were injured in the latest magnitude-7.3 quake that struck Kumamoto prefecture.
The earth quake, on the south-western island of Kyushu, came only a day after another tremor that claimed nine lives in the same area.
Experts have warned of more aftershocks with geophysicist John Bellini from the US Geological Survey saying: “We would not be surprised to see more earthquakes of this size”.
There were at least 50 aftershocks from Saturday’s quake.
Following the earthquake, authorities warned of damage over a wide area, as reports came in of scores of people trapped in collapsed buildings, fires and power outages.
An apartment fire was blamed for at least one of the deaths, as the fresh quake sparked a fresh wave of destruction and injuries.
“We are also checking if any more people failed to escape,” city official Kiichiro Terada said, adding that the fire was under control.
Some people were also trapped in a nursing home in the town of Mashiki, according to national broadcaster NHK.
TV Asahi also showed rescue efforts for what it said were 11 trapped people in a university apartment in the town of Minami Aso.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 1:25am (local time) and had a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres.
The Japan Meteorological Agency initially issued a tsunami warning for the western coast of the Kyushu island, where hundreds were injured in Thursday’s quake, but later lifted it.
No irregularities were reported at three nuclear power plants in the area, a senior government official said.
Forecast heavy rain in the coming days could cause landslides and affect already damaged structures, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said nearly 80 people were believed trapped or buried in rubble.
Mr Suga said extra troops would be sent to help, with up to 15,000 due on Saturday, as well as more police, firefighters and medics.
“We are making every effort to respond,” he said.
The region’s transport network suffered considerable damage with one tunnel caved in, a highway bridge damaged, roads blocked by landslips and train services halted, media reported.
NHK said authorities were considering evacuating patients from a Kumamoto city hospital over fears it could collapse as a wave of aftershocks shook the area.
The hospital was slanted and soldiers were sent to the scene to assess the situation, according to reports.
Many residents poured onto the streets after the quake, gathered in parks, or camped out in rice fields.
Hisako Ogata, 61, evacuated to a nearby park with her daughter, where some 50 other people sat on blue plastic sheets.
4 held with illegal pharmaceutical drugs
SUNSARI — Police have arrested four people in possession of illegal pharmaceutical drugs at Dharan on Sunday.
Albert Gurung and Anish Tamang of Munal Chowk in Dharan-10, Nawaraj Gurung of Dharan-15 and Arun Chaudhary of Khanar in Itahari-11 were arrested on charge of smuggling and selling the illegal pharmaceutical drugs, according to the police.
The police arrested the accused during a routine check at Dharan-based Tinkune checkpost. The police have also recovered 630 ampules of nitrazepam, 140 ampules of nitrasone and seven bottles of dilex from the detainees.
The arrestees have been kept under the police custody for further investigation.Follow @gorkhapost