Victims of strong quake in Japan return home

  • AseanPlus News
  • Monday, 28 Jul 2003

NANGO (Japan): Thousands of people returned home from shelters in northern Japan yesterday as aftershocks dwindled following Saturday's three strong earthquakes that injured more than 420 people and damaged hundreds of houses. 

Although no lives were lost in the quakes, residents remain alert for the “big one,” a massive quake that scientists believe will hit this region, some 350km northeast of Tokyo, sometime in coming decades. 

It has only been two months since another big tremor registering 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Miyagi prefecture, injuring more than 100 people and damaging property, including historic ruins. 

Police said that 423 people had been injured in the prefecture. Of them, 28 sustained serious injuries such as broken bones, but none of the injuries were life-threatening. 

The quakes damaged 1,025 houses, with 14 totally destroyed, while water supply to 11,959 people were cut in the prefecture. 

“We were lucky because it rained and few people were outdoors to be hit by collapsed walls and such,” said Kenji Sato, the public relations chief for the town of Nango. 

The weather cleared up yesterday and town residents were seen clearing away debris from collapsed walls and fallen roof tiles as the intensity and frequency of aftershocks dwindled. 

He said that the town's 7,000 people were well aware of the six massive quakes that have hit Miyagi with a magnitude of 7.5-8.0 at an average interval of 37.1 years since 1793 as a result of strains in geological plates in the nearby Pacific seabed. 

The last massive quake occurred in June 1978, killing 28 people and damaging 6,757 houses. – AFP  

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