Japan quake toll up to 16, central Ecuador struck with 6.3 quake
September 7, 2018 09:20 AM NPT
Photo Courtesy: Agencies
SAPPORO / ECUADOR, Sept 7: Searchers used dogs, backhoes and shovels to dig through mud and debris Friday looking for survivors beneath the landslides caused by a powerful earthquake in northern Japan that left at least 16 people dead or presumed dead.
The magnitude 6.7 quake early Thursday unleashed scores of landslides that buried homes in avalanches of soil, rock and timber on the country's northernmost main island of Hokkaido. In Atsuma, a town of 4,600 people, 26 were still unaccounted for.
The landslides ripped through some homes and buried others. Some residents interviewed by national broadcaster NHK described awakening to find their relatives and next-door neighbors gone.
"The entire thing just collapsed," said one. "It's unbelievable."
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said nearly half of the nearly 3 million households on the island had their power restored after a day of island-wide blackouts.
"The forecasts are for rain, and that could bring more landslides, so please continue to exercise extreme caution," he said.
The regional government said the bullet train to the provincial capital, Sapporo, was due to reopen later in the day. The city's regional airport also was beginning to resume operations after hundreds of flights had been cancelled, stranding thousands of travelers, due to Thursday's power outage and light quake damage.
Hokkaido is Japan's northern frontier and a major farming region with rugged mountain ranges and vast forests, and its people are accustomed to coping with long winters, isolation and other hardships.
The last few months have brought a string of calamities in Japan. The quake came on the heels of a typhoon that lifted heavy trucks off their wheels and triggered major flooding in western Japan, and damaged the main airport near Osaka and Kobe. The summer also brought devastating floods and landslides from torrential rains in Hiroshima and deadly hot temperatures across the country.
Magnitude 6.3 quake hits central Ecuador, felt in capital
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck central Ecuador on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said, although there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The quake hit 94 km (58 miles) south of the city of Ambato at a depth of 112 km (69 miles), the USGS said.
Tremors were felt in the capital, Quito, and in the industrial port city of Guayaquil, where people ran into the streets, a Reuters witness said.
Ecuador’s geological institute said the earthquake, which hit a remote area with a low population, had a magnitude of 6.5.
The Andean nation has frequent seismic activity. In 2016, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador’s Pacific coast, killing more than 650 people.