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

Hotel guests gather at the lobby after another earthquake hit the area in Kumamoto, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 16, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

In the hardest-stricken Minamiaso village, landslides buried 14 buildings, leaving two dead and four missing. A total of 11 college students were trapped in the rubble of four collapsed buildings and two of them were killed.

Water supply has been cut off in the Kumamoto city and part of the Oita prefecture, affecting 420,000 families. Blackout still affects 81,000 families in Kumamoto prefecture according to the Kyushu Electric Power Company.

Traffic was halted on multiple expressways in the region and parts of local roads were damaged. All commercial flights from Kumamoto Airport on Saturday have been cancelled with no prospect of resuming operation on Sunday. The Shinkansen Line service in Kyushu region was also halted through Saturday.

No abnormalities were observed at the Sendai nuclear power plant, the only operating nuclear facility in the area, and the nuclear power plant would not stop operation, said local reports. The Japanese government said it had dispatched 15,000 Self-Defense Force members to the shattered region and would send 10,000 more on Sunday to accelerate rescue and other operations.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference that significant damage is feared from the fresh quakes and vowed the central government would spare no efforts in response.