World News: 8 People Dead, Houses collapses As Earthquake hits Japan| Jeremy Spell Blog

Just after experiencing a devastating
typhoon, Japan has been hit by a powerful
6.6-magnitude quake in the northern
island of Hokkaido.
The quake on Thursday killed at least eight
people, destroyed homes, and triggered
landslides that left dozens missing.
Multiple, large-scale landslides struck the
sparsely populated countryside, which was
also hit by the edge of a powerful typhoon
that surged through Japan earlier this
week.
Aerial views showed dozens of houses
destroyed at the bottom of a hill that was
engulfed by a landslide, with a rescue
helicopter winching a resident to safety.
Around three million homes lost power
after the quake damaged a major thermal
plant supplying the region.
The Tomari nuclear power plant in
Hokkaido, which was not operational
before the quake, was forced to turn to
emergency back-up power to keep its
cooling system working, NHK said.
Kazuo Kibayashi, 51, a town official at hard-
hit Abira town, said: “There was a sudden,
extreme jolt. I felt it went sideways, not up-
and-down, for about two to three minutes.”
“It stopped before shaking started again. I
felt it come in two waves. I am 51, and I
have never experienced anything like this. I
thought my house was going to collapse.
Everything inside my house was all jumbled
up. I didn’t have time to even start
cleaning,” he added.
Moments after the initial quake, an
aftershock measuring 5.3 rocked the area
and dozens more aftershocks followed
throughout the night and into the morning.
Akira Fukui, from the main city of Sapporo,
told AFP: “I woke up around 3am with a
vertical jolt. I put the light on but it went out
shortly afterwards. All the traffic lights are
out and there’s no power at work.”
No tsunami warning was issued after the
relatively shallow quake, which struck 62
kilometres (39 miles) southeast of the
regional capital Sapporo.
Around 20,000 rescue workers, including
police and members of the Self-Defence
Forces were responding to the disaster,
government spokesman Yoshihide Suga
said. Another 20,000 SDF troops are
expected to join the effort.
“We will do our best to save lives,” Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe said after an
emergency cabinet meeting.
NHK reported that eight people had lost
their lives, six of them in the village of
Atsuma, where the landslide engulfed the
homes. Nearly 40 people were still missing,
the broadcaster added.
Local media said the dead also included an
82-year-old man who fell down the stairs at
his home during the quake and that around
130 people had sustained minor injuries.
“I urge people in areas shaken by strong
quakes to stay calm, pay attention to
evacuation information… and help each
other,” Suga added.
Japan is still recovering from the worst
typhoon to hit the country in 25 years,
which struck the western part of the
country on Tuesday, claiming at least 11
lives and causing major damage to the
region’s main airport.
Officials warned of the danger of fresh
quakes.
“Large quakes often occur, especially within
two to three days (of a big one),” said
Toshiyuki Matsumori, in charge of
monitoring earthquakes and tsunamis at
the meteorological agency.
The risk of housing collapses and landslides
had increased, he said, urging residents “to
pay full attention to seismic activity and
rainfall and not to go into dangerous
areas.”
The earthquake also caused travel
disruption, with all flights cancelled from
Sapporo’s main Chitose airport, where the
quake brought down part of a ceiling and
burst a water pipe. Local buses and trains
and bullet train services were halted.

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