A deadly earthquake struck near Osaka, Japan early Monday, causing hundreds of casualties, damaging buildings and leaving many homes without water or gas.
The epicenter of the 6.1-magnitude earthquake was just north of Osaka at a depth of 13 kilometers. Japanese officials said at least three people were killed and more than 300 injured.
No tsunami warning was issued. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said authorities were investigating the damage and seeking to provide safety to those affected.
Japan’s NHK television showed collapsed walls, broken windows and water leaks throughout the area. Tens of thousands of people lost power after the quake, but officials said most areas got electricity back by midday.
Damage to underground gas lines left at least 110,000 homes without service in the nearby cities of Takatsuki and Ibaraki. Full repair of those gas lines could take up to two weeks, officials from Osaka Gas Company said.
Underground trains were halted so tracks could be inspected for damage. Service was restarted later in the afternoon.
Among the dead was a 9-year-old girl killed after being trapped under a collapsed wall at her school. More than 1,000 schools were closed in Osaka and nearby areas as wall cracks and other minor damage were found.
Japanese soldiers joined rescue and relief operations in parts of Osaka, bringing special vehicles to deliver clean drinking water.
Officials warned of strong aftershocks throughout the area and urged people to stay away from damaged structures.
Earthquakes are common in Japan, which is part of the seismically active “Ring of Fire.” The area covers the South Pacific through Indonesia and Japan, across to Alaska and down the west coast of North, Central and South America.
A 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck near the Japanese city of Kobe in 1995, killing more than 6,000 people. Monday’s quake followed a series of smaller ones reported near Tokyo in recent weeks. Parts of northern Japan are still recovering from the 9.0 quake and tsunami in 2011 that killed more than 18,000 people.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
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Words in This Story
tsunami – n. very high, large wave in the ocean usually caused by an earthquake under the sea
crack – n. a thin line or space in the surface of something, usually a sign of damage
relief – adj. providing help, relief
seismically – adv. relating to or caused by an earthquake