Rescuers scramble as new quake hits Japan

Apr 16, 2016, 12:59 PM EDT
Earthquake in Japan
(Source: Hikaru Kazushime/flickr)

Japanese rescuers were digging through the rubble of buildings and mud on Saturday to reach dozens believed trapped after a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck a southern island, killing at least 32 people and injuring about a thousand.

Reuters writes:

The shallow earthquake hit in the early hours, sending people fleeing from their beds on to dark streets, and followed a 6.4 magnitude quake on Thursday which killed nine people in the area. Rain and cold were forecast overnight, adding extra urgency to the rescue effort. Television footage showed fires, power outages, collapsed bridges, a severed road hanging over a ravine and gaping holes in the earth. Residents near a dam were told to leave because of fears it might crumble, broadcaster NHK said. "I felt strong shaking at first, then I was thrown about like I was in a washing machine," said a Tokai University student who remains isolated in the village of Minamiaso in Kumamoto province on the island of Kyushu. "All the lights went out and I heard a loud noise. A lot of gas is leaking and while there hasn't been a fire, that remains a concern," the student, who is sheltering in a university gym with 1,000 other students and residents, told Japanese media.

The BBC reports:

Rescuers are in a "race against time" to find survivors of a powerful earthquake amid forecasts of heavy rain and cold overnight, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned. Mr Abe admitted rescue operations throughout the night in the Kyushu region "will be extremely difficult". At least 32 people have been killed and hundreds injured, with thousands forced to seek refuge outdoors and dozens still feared trapped beneath rubble. A quake on Thursday killed nine people. Both quakes were shallow and struck close to the city of Kumamoto, causing huge damage to roads, bridges, tunnels, homes and buildings. Big landslides have cut off remote mountain villages. Some 100,000 households remain without power while around 400,000 homes are without water. Mr Abe told an emergency meeting on Saturday evening that the rain and winds had begun and "are expected to get stronger".