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7.0M Earthquake Strikes Japan Following 6.2M, 6.0M Foreshocks

April 15, 2016

Shaking Intensity map for the 7.0M earthquake in Kumamoto-shi, Japan, including epicenter, infrastructure, and population density.

Barely 24 hours after being struck by a 6.2M earthquake Kumamoto Prefecture has once again been shaken by a strong, shallow quake. Early Saturday (local time), a 7.0M earthquake struck west-southwest of Kumamoto-shi, Japan, on the island of Kyushu, further impacting an area already engaged in response operations due to collapsed buildings and fires. The estimated impacts of the quake prompted the U.S. Geological Survey to issue a Red Pager for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses, estimating high casualties and extensive damage are probable, and the disaster likely widespread.

Fortunately, as with the previous earthquake, Saturday’s 7.0M did not generate a tsunami, nor have there been reports of any “irregularities” at three nuclear power plants in the area. The series of strong earthquakes that have impacted Japan over the past few days, come just weeks after the five-year anniversary of the catastrophic 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which along with the devastating tsunami that was triggered, affected nearly 370,000 people and caused more than 19,000 deaths.

PDC situational awareness product displaying the frequency of landslides triggered by earthquakes for the 7.0M earthquake in Kumamoto-shi, Japan.

It is estimated that one million people were exposed to severe and violent ground shaking from the 7.0M earthquake. The most recent event comes only a day after the 6.2M earthquake resulted in nine fatalities and over 1,100 injuries, most from Mashiki and Kumamoto.  

As response and relief operations continue, there is an increased risk of landslides induced by rain moving into the affected area, potentially impacting rescue efforts.

PDC will continue to support responding agencies as events unfold. If you are an emergency manager or humanitarian assistance practitioner, and would like to access PDC’s DisasterAWARE (EMOPS) platform, click here for more information.

For more information on the 2016 Japan Earthquakes, click here.

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About PDC:

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) envisions a safer, more secure world—where populations live in more disaster-resilient communities informed by science and technology, and equipped with sound decision support tools. To help make that vision a reality, PDC is dedicated to supporting evidence-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts by providing actionable information and applications to the public and disaster managers worldwide. PDC, a program managed by the University of Hawaii, was established by the U.S. government in 1996.