In the aftermath of the Hokkaido earthquake, authorities reported two dead, 125 wounded and some 40 missing.
A powerful 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, causing landslides. Five new dead bodies were found in a village in northern Japan carrying the provisional toll of 8 dead, announced the NHK public channel.
Mountains cut in half. Aerial views showed mountains literally cut in half by dramatic landslides, which tore down all the trees and engulfed houses built below. Firefighters hoisted the inhabitants.
The quake occurred in the middle of the night 62 km southeast of the regional capital, Sapporo, just two days after a devastating typhoon in the Osaka region. The earth continued to tremble after: dozens of aftershocks were felt.
At least eight dead and forty missing. The bodies of five inhabitants were found in the rubble of houses in the mountainous settlement of Atsuma. Forty people are still missing. At least 125 people were injured.
“Save lives”. “We urge people in areas hit by heavy shocks to take into account the information broadcast on television and radio and to help each other,” said government spokesman Yoshihide Suga. Soldiers of the Self-Defense Forces arrived on the scene to take part in the rescue operations: a total of 25,000 men were expected. “We will make every effort to save lives,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after a crisis meeting.
Disturbed transport. According to Hokkaido Electric Power, 2.95 million households were without power after the earthquake, due to the shutdown of all power plants in the region. The fuel from the Tomari nuclear power plant, which has also been deprived of an external power supply, is being cooled by power supplied by generators, according to information from the state-owned NHK. Transportation was also disrupted, on the rails and in the air.
Risk of new earthquakes. Officials cautioned against the risk of new earthquakes. “Heavy secondary shocks often occur within 2-3 days,” said Toshiyuki Matsumori, tsunami and earthquake monitoring officer at the weather agency. “The risk of the housing collapse and landslide may have increased in areas that have experienced severe shocks,” he said during a press briefing.