Friday, June 13, 2008

Japan quake kills at least 3, scores injured

OSHU, Japan-An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 struck rural northern Japan on Saturday, killing at least three people, officials and televisions said. Several others were trapped in hot spring resort hit by a landslide.The quake, at 8:43 a.m. (7:43 p.m. EDT Friday), was centered in Iwate, a sparsely populated area around 300 km (190 miles) north of Tokyo. Dozens of aftershocks also jolted the area."I was outside and I wanted to rush back to the store, but I couldn't move because it was shaking," a liquor store owner told Fuji TV. "Broken bottles are all over the store, and there's a smell of alcohol everywhere."One of the people killed was caught in a landslide, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura told reporters. A second was killed as he ran out of a building and was run over by a car. NHK said another man was killed at a dam construction site hit by falling rocks.At least four people were buried in a landslide at a hot spring resort in Kurihara city in hard-hit Miyagi prefecture, TV Asahi reported, though it was unknown whether they were dead.Three more were missing at a work site after another landslide in Kurihara, Kyodo news agency said, adding that more than 100 people were hurt.Water containing a small amount of radiation leaked within a Tokyo Electric Power Co nuclear power facility in the region, but there was no leakage outside, a spokesman for Japan's biggest utility said.Rail operator JR East said 2,000 were trapped on bullet trains that stopped between stations.The energy released by the quake was far less than in the case of the magnitude 7.9 earthquake that hit southwestern China on May 12, leaving nearly 87,000 people dead or missing."The seismic energy of the China quake was one order of magnitude greater," Naoshi Hirata, a professor at Tokyo University's Earthquake Research Institute, told Reuters.He cautioned that casualties could rise as reports came in from isolated areas, but added the region's sparse population and Japan's strict building standards were likely to keep casualties and damage limited.Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. The country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater, prompting tough building codes to try to limit damage.Four people were badly injured near the airport in the northeast coastal city of Sendai as a bus they were traveling in was jolted by the earthquake, TV reported."I was at home and we had finished eating breakfast," said Akira Nishimura, an official from the city hall in Kurihara. "We got under the table", he said referring to himself, his 4-year-old child and his wife.
A Japan Meteorological Agency official told a news conference that aftershocks were likely to continue for some time.The government had set up an emergency response centre, the Tokyo Fire Department sent a relief team and Iwate Governor Takuya Tasso asked for help from a military disaster relief unit."Three television sets fell off shelves, elevators have stopped, and we've turned off the boiler."Another Kurihara city official said that a Japanese-style inn had been hit by a landslide, blocking the first floor, and that guests had moved to the second floor.A JR East spokesman said it could take nine hours to complete safety checks and resume bullet train services.A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc, Japan's biggest utility, said two of the company's nuclear power plants in Fukushima prefecture, just south of Miyagi prefecture, were running as usual and there were no disruptions from the quake.An official at Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc said its nuclear plants at Onagawa and Higashidori were running as usual.
Top Japanese refiner Nippon Oil Corp's 145,000 barrel-per-day Sendai refinery appeared not to have been damaged after the quake, a company official said. The refinery is currently shut for scheduled maintenance.Sony Corp and Fujitsu Ltd said they had stopped production at semiconductor factories in the region but had not found any damage so far.In October 2004, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 struck the Niigata region in northern Japan, killing 65 people and injuring more than 3,000.That was the deadliest quake since a magnitude 7.3 tremor hit the city of Kobe in 1995, killing more than 6,400.
To read more go to:

As in the days of Noah...

No comments: