Japan earthquake: 'I thought I was going to die'

2016-04-15 14:07
(Kumamoto Prefectural Police, AFP)

(Kumamoto Prefectural Police, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mashiki- A still shocked resident from a town in southern Japan recounted his terror the previous night as he examined the damage on Friday from a powerful earthquake that brought down buildings and left nine people dead.

"It's as if all control was lost, I thought I was going to die and I couldn't bear it any longer," said Yuichiro Yoshikado, who was taking a bath in his apartment in the hardest-hit town of Mashiki.

"I grabbed onto the sides of the bathtub, but the water in the tub, it was about 70% filled with water, was going like this," he said waving his arms, "and all the water splashed out."

More than 100 aftershocks from Thursday night's magnitude-6.5 earthquake continued to rattle the region as businesses and residents got a fuller look at the widespread damage from the unusually strong quake, which also injured about 800 people.

The quake struck near the city of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, about 1 300km southwest of Tokyo. Mashiki is on Kumamoto's eastern border, about 15km from the city's center.

Rescue workers combed through wreckage to make sure there were no more trapped people, said Shotaro Sakamoto, a Kumamoto prefecture official. Concern about aftershocks was keeping many people from starting the huge task of cleaning up, police said.

Yoshikado, whose building was undamaged despite the intense shaking, was checking the damage at his aunt and uncle's home nearby.

Kitchenware was scatted on the floor, and a clock had stopped around 9:26 p.m., the time of the earthquake. Power and water have yet to be restored, and many in the neighborhood have yet to return because of the aftershocks.

"Everyone in Kumamoto is still in a panic," Yoshikado said. "We see in the news phrases like 'Major earthquake in Kumamoto,' or 'The Kumamoto Quake,' but it just doesn't seem real. It feels like something that would happen somewhere else."

About 44 000 people stayed in shelters overnight, and Sakamoto said it was difficult to predict how many would return Friday night.

The deads included five women and four men were killed, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. One man was is his 20s, and the rest of the victims ranged from their 50s to one woman in her 90s. Eight of the nine victims were from Mashiki.

There were varying reports on the number of injured. The government's chief spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said at least 860 people had been injured, 53 seriously. Kumamoto prefecture tallied 784 injured.

Suga said 1 600 soldiers had joined the relief and rescue efforts. TV reports showed troops delivering blankets and adult diapers to those in shelters.

The damage was widespread, with building debris spilling onto streets and deep cracks in the roads. Huge boulder-like rocks tumbled from the walls of historic Kumamoto castle, which was closed to the public Friday.

A bright spot broadcast repeatedly on television was the overnight rescue of an apparently uninjured baby, wrapped in a blanket and carried out of the rubble of a collapsed home.

With water service cut off in some areas, residents were hauling water from local offices to their homes to flush toilets.

Suga said there were no abnormalities at nearby nuclear facilities. The epicenter was 120km northeast of Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear plant, the only one operating in the country.

Most of Japan's nuclear reactors remain offline following the meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima plant in 2011 after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a huge tsunami.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Mashiki sits near two faults on Kyushu. The area is also near Mount Aso, a huge, active volcano. JMA officials said the quake was unusually strong for Kyushu.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.