Two strong quakes kill 41 in SW Japan, heavy rain predicted in quake-hit region

Updated: 2016-04-17 00:15


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Two strong quakes kill 41 in SW Japan, heavy rain predicted in quake-hit region

Parents cry after confirming that their daughter was found dead at their collapsed house after earthquakes in Mashiki town, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 16, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

OSAKA -- A total of 41 people have been killed in two strong earthquakes in Japan.

At least 32 people were confirmed dead after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocked Japan's southwestern Kumamoto Prefecture in the early hours of Saturday.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency said that the massive quake on Saturday was the main event while the 6.5-magnitude quake earlier that killed at least 9 people was a foreshock.

The agency also warned that severe aftershocks might still follow, and as heavy wind and rain was predicted in the Kyushu area from Saturday night, residents should be wary of landslides and other secondary disasters.

The prefectural governments of Kumamoto and Oita have required 160,000 residents in the danger zones to evacuate.

The 7.3 magnitude quake that struck Kumamoto at the depth of about 12 kilometers early on Saturday triggered a tsunami warning which was later lifted.

Numerous aftershocks followed the massive quake. As of 5:00 p.m. local time on Saturday, more than 30 shocks over magnitude 4 have been reported, causing extensive damages to the stricken region.

Local media also reported a "small-scale" eruption at Mount Aso, a large active volcano in Kumamoto. The Japanese Meteorological Agency said later that the volcano was still active on Saturday afternoon but the eruption was not linked to the quakes.

Over 2,000 people were reported injured in the quakes. In Kumamoto Prefecture, some 91,000 people were evacuated to over 680 shelters, and over 1,700 houses damaged, including 1,400 in the village of Nishihara.

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