World / Asia-Pacific

Japan's southwest rocked again by major quake, emergency services gear up for casualties

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-04-16 00:48
Japan's southwest rocked again by major quake, emergency services gear up for casualties

The aftermath of a landslide and destroyed houses caused by an earthquake are seen in Minamiaso town, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 16, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO/KUMAMOTO, Japan - Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan was rattled again by a magnitude-7.2 earthquake early on Saturday.

The quake struck at 01:25 local time, with the temblor being felt across wide swathes of southern Japan and triggering a tsunami warning although the advisory was soon lifted.

Japan's Meteorological Agency (JMA) initially issued the warning just two minutes after the quake struck, saying waves of up to one meter could hit the coast of Japan, with the advisory given for both the Ariake and Yatsushiro sea areas.

The weather agency, however, subsequently lifted the warning, according to public broadcaster NHK, although more aftershocks are expected as well as possible landslides and buildings collapsing as inclement weather is expected overnight and through the weekend.

Regarding the possibility of further quakes and aftershocks, the JMA has advised enhanced vigilance from the public, particularly in hilly areas where mudslides are highly possible.

In the town of Mashiki, home to more than 32,600 people in Kumamoto Prefecture, in southern Kyushu, the epicenter of the previous major quake on Friday, which was logged at an intensity of 7, the National Police Agency on Saturday said local emergency services had been inundated with calls following further reports of buildings collapsing in the region.

They said rescue services were bracing for more casualties.

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