The death toll in a second earthquake to rock Japan within two days rose from four to 19, Japanese officials said Saturday morning. The rising death toll is from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked the southern Japanese city of Kumamoto at 1:25 a.m. local time Saturday, sparking fires and a landslide, collapsing buildings and igniting powerful aftershocks, including one registering at 5.8.
The total deaths from the two quakes is 29.
Fifty-three people are reported to be trapped and 23 people are reportedly buried alive, following the second earthquake, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary said, according to Japanese media outlet NHK.
Saturday afternoon in Japan, one massive landslide tore open a mountainside in Minamiaso village in Kunamato Prefecture all the way from the top to a highway below, destroying a key bridge that could cut off food and other relief transport to the worst hit area, according to Associated Press. A trail of brown earth streamed down the hillside like a muddy river.
Another landslide gnawed at a highway, collapsing a house that fell down a ravine and smashed at the bottom. In another part of the village, houses were left hanging precariously at the edge of a huge hole cut open in the earth.
At least 470 people are injured, NHK said, and 44 people are said to be in a critical condition at Saiseikai Kumamoto Hospital.
Japan’s Defense Minister said 20,0000 soldiers will be deployed over the weekend to help rescue efforts.
Five prefectures were impacted by the quake: Kumamoto, Oita, Saga, Nagasaki and Yamaguchi.
NHK reported that 192,600 households are without power in three prefectures.
Residents of the Nishihara Village were told to evacuate.
Japan Meteorological Agency warned that more earthquakes may strike the area.
The quake struck just one day after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake in the same area left at least 9 dead and injured more than 800. Yesterday's quake sent more than 100 aftershocks throughout the area and forced about 44,000 people to take shelter after buildings were damaged.
The epicenter of today's earthquake is about 8 miles northwest of yesterday's quake.