Floods, landslides and more large tremors expected to follow deadly Japan earthquake
Five people lost their lives in the earthquake that hit the Osaka region in Japan on Monday. The Meteorological Agency is warning another big earthquake could hit in the coming days, reports NHK public television.
During Monday, the death rate was three people, but it has risen since a 60-year-old man and a 80-year-old woman were found dead in their homes. They had been crushed under book shelves that fell over.
In addition to the dead, about 370 people have been injured in the quake, which was measured at the magnitude of 6.1.
The authorities are still working to bring back the electricity, water and gas to many thousands of households.
1 700 people have been granted temporary housing because their houses were damaged in the quake. In addition, more than 500 schools were injured in Osaka and the region around the city.
On Tuesday a quake was reported at the magnitude 4.0. There is a risk of more tremors in the region.
Meteorologists predict rain in the affected areas in the next few days. This is problematic since it can cause both landslides and floods when the soil is loosened after an earthquake.
Takatsuki city confirmed another victim late Monday, as the death toll rose to four. City officials didn't have details of the victim, but NHK and Kyodo News reported that an 81-year-old woman was found dead underneath a wardrobe that fell on her in her home in Takatsuki.
Also in Takatsuki, a concrete wall at an elementary school fell onto the street, killing 9-year-old Rina Miyake as she walked to the school. NHK showed the collapsed upper half of the high wall, which was painted cheerfully with flowers, trees and blue sky and surrounded the school swimming pool.
Mayor Takeshi Hamada apologized over her death because of the wall's collapse. The city acknowledged that the wall did not meet building safety codes. The structure was old and made of concrete blocks - a known risk in earthquakes. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga ordered the Education Ministry to conduct nationwide safety checks of concrete block structures at public schools.
More than 1,000 schools were closed in Osaka and nearby prefectures, Kyodo News reported. Wall cracks and other minor damage were found at several schools.
A man in his 80s died in the collapse of a concrete wall in Osaka city. An 85-year-old man in nearby Ibaraki died after a bookcase fell on top of him at home, according to the disaster management agency.
BBC News cites officials who say another tremor could happen in the next few days.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 307 people were treated for injuries at hospitals. Most of the injured were in Osaka. Osaka officials did not give details, but the injuries reported in Kyoto and three other neighboring prefectures were all minor.
BBC News also notes that several key industrial areas near Osaka were affected. Companies like Panasonic and Daihatsu are suspending production at their affected sites.
The quake struck shortly before 8 a.m. north of Osaka at a depth of about 13 kilometers (8 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The strongest shaking was north of Osaka, but the quake rattled large parts of western Japan, including Kyoto, the agency said.
Dozens of domestic flights in and out of Osaka were grounded, while train and subway service in the Osaka area, including bullet trains, was suspended to check for damage. Passengers exited trains on the tracks between stations.
The earthquake reminded many of the magnitude 7.3 Kobe quake in 1995 that killed more than 6,000 people in the region. Monday's quake also followed a series of smaller quakes near Tokyo in recent weeks. Japan's northern prefectures are still recovering from a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami in 2011 that killed more than 18,000.
"It was not as bad as the Kobe quake," said Jun Kawanami, a 30-year-old lawyer in Osaka. He said his wife ducked under a table and elevators in his office building were out of operation.
"I used the stairs but I was out of breath by the time I arrived at my office on the 22nd floor," he said.