Rescue and clean-up efforts are underway in Japan after twin earthquakes hit the country’s southwest, killing at least 43 and injuring more than 1,000 people.
Three days on from the strongest shock — Saturday’s quake registered a magnitude-7.0 and Thursday’s magnitude-6.2 — dramatic drone footage from the country’s Geospatial Information Authority has highlighted why recovery operations are proving so difficult.
Not only did the initial impact of each shock splinter roads and carve out fissures in the earth’s surface but numerous roads and bridges have collapsed from landslides triggered by the tremors.
The drone footage shows a devastated bridge near Minami Aso village and huge swathes of roads swept away.
Nine people are still missing and over 3,000 buildings have been damaged, according to Kumamoto prefecture’s disaster management office.
Difficult recovery effort
First responders reported it was difficult to determine the scope of the disaster zone and move supplies to those in need because of the damage to roads and other transport systems.
Gen Aoki, the head of Japan’s Meteorological Agency, warned that seismic activity is continuing and the area continued to endure as many as hundreds of aftershocks.
CNN’s Matt Rivers who is on the scene in Kumamoto says those who have sought safety in evacuation shelters — more than 180,000 people — are still afraid to go home due to the consistent aftershocks including one Monday evening that registered a magnitude of 5.8.
Many buildings that were able to withstand Thursday’s initial shock were toppled in Saturday’s more powerful quake or its many aftershocks.
The smashed roads, bridges and rail lines are also hurting major Japanese companies which have since been forced to shut factories.
The stricken area Kyushu is known as car island — Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Daihatsu all have plants there and between them produce about one and a half million of the 9 million cars made in Japan each year.
Several of those car makers including Toyota said its production would be affected while Honda’s only motorcycle plant has halted production.
By Tiffany Ap, CNN