Strong quake hurts 45 in south Japan; traps people in houses
Rescuers in southern Japan were searching for trapped residents in at least two dozen collapsed houses after a powerful 6.5 earthquake struck yesterday evening with a force that knocked out power and water and swept people off their feet.
Japanese Red Cross Kumamoto Hospital said it has admitted or treated 45 people, including five with serious injuries.
The quake struck at 9:26 p.m. at a depth of 11 kilometers (seven miles) near Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. There was no tsunami risk.
"The shaking was so violent, I couldn't stand still," said Hironobu Kosaki, a Kumamoto Prefectural Police night-duty official.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at least 19 houses collapsed, and hundreds of calls came in reporting building damage and people buried under debris or trapped inside.
"Because of the night darkness, the extent of damage is still unclear," he said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that the government mobilized police, firefighters and self-defense troops for the rescue operation.
"We'll carry out relief operation through the night," he said.