Elderly man, 9-year-old girl killed as strong quake hits Japan

18 June, 2018, 15:30 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Trains are evacuated in Osaka following earthquake

"It was not as bad as the Kobe quake", said Jun Kawanami, a 30-year-old lawyer in Osaka.

The jolts shattered windows, knocked over walls, and resulted in several residential building fires.

The quake, which had a 6.1 magnitude, hit at 7:58 a.m. It said it would resume operations at the Osaka plant on Monday evening.

Most trains in the Osaka area were still not running by late afternoon, police said.

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The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 214 people have been treated at hospitals in five prefectures.

Transport was disrupted and trains stopped amid power outages during the morning commute as the natural disaster struck at 8.a.m. local time (23.00 Sunday, UTC) at a depth of about 13 kilometers (8.1 miles).

Toshiyuki Matsumori, of the country's meteorological agency, said: "There are fears that the risk of house collapses and landslides has increased in the areas shaken strongly".

A nine-year-old girl was killed after becoming trapped by a damaged wall in a swimming pool facility at her school in Takatsuki city, north of Osaka city.

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A number of train services were suspended, including the "shinkansen" bullet train.

Television images showed buildings swaying and burst pipes spewing water after the quake, which struck at the height of rush hour in the city of around two million people.

Due to damage to underground gas lines, 110,000 homes in Takatsuki and Ibaraki cities were without gas, and repairs are expected to take as long as two weeks, according to Osaka Gas Co.

Japan's weather agency warned people in western Japan to be prepared for another big quake in the next few days.

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Two men in their 80s, one from Osaka's Higashiyodogawa Ward, and another from the city of Ibaraki also perished.

Kansai Electric said on its website that around 170,000 homes in the Osaka region were without power. Vehicle makers Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Daihatsu all stopped production at plants in the region.

Daihatsu Motor Co, an Osaka-based unit of Toyota Motor Corp, said it had suspended production at its factories in Osaka and Kyoto while they check for damage.

Shaking was felt well beyond the epicenter in Osaka, one of the largest metropolises. In 1995, a magnitude 6.9 quake killed more than 6000 people when it struck in neighbouring Kobe.

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Japan sits on the so-called Ring of Fire, one of the most active seismic zones in the world, and experiences earthquakes frequently, which is why most infrastructure is specially created to withstand earthquakes.

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