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Evacuees Fill Shelters as Toll of Kumamoto Quakes Climbs
Situation Remains Uncertain One Week After Initial Tremor

Rescue and relief efforts continue as residents mark a week since a string of large earthquakes began rocking Kumamoto and Ōita Prefectures. A magnitude 6.5 foreshock struck April 14, followed by the M7.3 main quake, centered in Mashiki, on April 16. Perceptible aftershocks have continued at a rate of 70–80 per day, taking an emotional toll on residents. More than 90,000 people have fled their homes, raising health concerns stemming from the long-term stress of living in cramped conditions at shelters and other temporary accommodations. Elderly evacuees are particularly at risk, with a growing number of disaster-related deaths being reported. And heavy rain has increased the risk of landslides, hampering the search for victims.

Death Toll Still Climbing

According to Kumamoto government figures from April 20, the quakes have killed 48 people, with 3 others missing and thought to be victims of landslides. Assessment of destruction is still ongoing, but authorities estimate the tremors damaged 8,600 homes, with approximately 1,500 of these totally destroyed.

Quake Effects in Kumamoto Prefecture (as of April 20)

Earthquake fatalities 48
Disaster-related deaths 11
Missing 3
Injured 1,153 (210 seriously)
Evacuation shelters 623
Evacuees 92,314
Homes Destroyed 1,484
Partially destroyed 1,324
Total damaged 8,600 (estimate)
Households without tap water 98,400

Source: Kumamoto Prefecture

As of April 20, authorities have dispatched approximately 2,000 disaster relief personnel from outside the prefecture to affected areas, along with 24,000 Self-Defense Force troops and 125 aircraft to transport water, food, and other relief goods to quake victims.

Self-Defense Force troops unload relief supplies from a US military MV-22 Osprey in Minamiaso, Kumamoto Prefecture, on April 18, 2016. (© Jiji)

  • [2016.04.22]
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