Disaster relief begins in quake-hit W. Japan as 3,000 people displaced, more quakes expec

TOKYO — Emergency relief supplies have been sent to Tottori Prefecture and surrounding areas in western Japan following a magnitude 6.6 earthquake striking the region Friday, local government officials said on Saturday.

Food, blankets, fresh water and makeshift roofs have been delivered to some of the hardest-hit areas, including the city of Kurayoshi and the towns of Yurihama and Hokuei in Tottori Prefecture, where the quake measured lower 6 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale that peaks at 7, prefectural officials said.

More than 20 people were injured as a result of the quake that struck at 2:07 p.m. local time, and some 2,800 people are currently staying in evacuation shelters in the hardest-hit areas, with others relying on their cars and other vehicles for emergency refuge.

As the tremors continue to rumble on Saturday, more than 160 houses have been partially destroyed around the city of Kurayoshi and town of Yurihama, and three have been completely destroyed in the town of Hokuei, local officials said.

Japan’s weather agency, meanwhile, has said a great deal of seismic activity is continuing in the region and has warned that a quake of the same intensity could strike within the next week.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said Saturday that more than 100 tremors had been recorded measuring more than one on the seismic scale on Friday and those with an intensity of up to 3 have been recorded at least twice on Saturday, with 40 quakes registering one or higher by noon on Saturday.

The JMA said following officials in the affected regions confirming that water pipes had ruptured as a result of the quake and tremors, cutting off supplies to 16,000 homes as of Saturday morning, that people in the Tottori and surrounding areas should be extra vigilant.

Specifically, the weather agency has called on people in the areas to expect possible mudslides as well as further buildings collapsing. PNA/Xinhua-northboundasia.com