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Over 15,000 people in shelters after Kumamoto quake

Collapsed buildings and tilted homes are seen after a massive earthquake, in Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, on April 15, 2016. (Mainichi)

MASHIKI, Kumamoto -- Over 15,000 people remain at shelters and other evacuation locations after an estimated magnitude-6.5 earthquake that killed nine and injured 784, according to sources including the Kumamoto Prefectural Government.

    There was also heavy damage to infrastructure, and Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) decided to cancel all April 15 trains on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line after an out-of-service bullet train derailed due to the temblor. Aftershocks are continuing, and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) is warning that for around the next week there could be an earthquake of around a lower 6 on the Japanese 7-point intensity scale.

    The same day, the JMA named the earthquake the "2016-Nen Kumamoto Jishin" (the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake). The nine deaths were four men and five women aged 29 to 94. Six of them were 60 or over, and eight were caught under collapsed residences. Eight of the deaths were in the town of Mashiki, where tremors rating a 7 on the Japanese scale were measured and where much of the quake damage was concentrated. The other fatality was a falling death in the city of Kumamoto, next to Mashiki to the west.

    The prefectural government says it has not received any information about people missing in the quake.

    Among the injuries, 52 are reportedly serious. In Mashiki, 56 people were rescued from collapsed homes and other places. There were also many fallen utility poles and cut power lines. According to Kyushu Electric Power Co., up to around 16,700 homes lost power, and as of 10 a.m. on April 15 around 10,000 homes were still without electricity. Furthermore, Kumamoto Castle, a nationally-designated special historical site, was badly damaged, contributing to worries about the quake's effects on tourism.

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