04/18/2016, 10.12
JAPAN
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Earthquake in Japan: Death toll climbs, displaced people criticize the government

Almost 250 thousand evacuated. Complaints about scarce food and water shortages. Police say 11 people are missing and aftershocks are feared in the coming days. The Nikkei looses 3.2%.

 

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – The death toll is climbing from two earthquakes that struck the island of Kyushu (southwest Japan) within 48 hours on April 14 and 16 last. The number of victims has risen to 42, most of them caused by the second quake with a magnitude of 7.3. Almost 250 thousand people have been displaced and the Japanese authorities have raised the alarm because they fear further earthquakes in the coming days. At least 30 thousand people are engaged in rescue operations, with soldiers and members of the Red Cross. According to police, 11 people are still missing, while 1000 were injured. The severe damage to infrastructure and homes has not yet been calculated.

The aid provided by the government to the evacuated people has drawn criticism. Some families have complained about the meager food rations that are distributed (about two rice balls for dinner a head) others about the lack of water and the consequent inability to wash. The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded that the government is doing its utmost to ensure a full recovery of the area.

The double disaster has even affected Japanese finance. The Nikkei lost 3.2% in the morning today, with investors fearing the impact of earthquakes on the manufacturing industry. Giants like Toyota, Sony and Honda discontinued the production chain in the area affected by earthquakes.

The earthquake of April 16, struck at 1.25 in the night, near the city of Kumamoto with a magnitude of  6.4. The two shocks are the strongest to hit Japan after the magnitude 9 earthquake that caused the tsunami in 2011 and the following Fukushima disaster with the explosion of the nuclear power plant. On that occasion the dead were at least 18 thousand.

Japan is one of the most active seismic areas in the world, with 205 of the total of the earthquakes that occur every year of magnitude 6 or greater. On average, the seismometers record activities, however slight, every five minutes. This is why the buildings in the country are among those built with the best seismic criteria and the authorities have created, over time, an effective warning system.

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