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Thursday, 21st April 2016
In General Japan News,

Third earthquake strikes Japan in a week

A third earthquake has struck the Japanese nation in less than a week, after a 5.8-magnitude incident was recorded off the north-eastern coast of the country.

The quake was originally registered at a magnitude of 6.1 by the US Geological Survey (USGS), but was later downgraded.

It occurred around 60 miles to the south east of Sendai in Honshu on Wednesday (April 20th) at a depth of 32 miles.

This location is particularly pertinent due to the fact it’s where the quake and tsunami struck in March 2011.

Despite this, there have been no tsunami warnings issued and so far no damage or casualties have been reported.

Japan is still recovering from the two earthquakes that rocked its southern regions last week, killing 48 people and destroying houses and infrastructure.

Southern Kyushu island has received the worst of the aftershocks, which have kept the population on edge and unable to return to their homes.

In Kumamoto, the site of the other quake, around 100,000 citizens have been displaced, with evacuation shelters full and some people resorting to sleeping in their cars.

At an evacuation centre in Mashiki, one woman told the broadcaster NHK: "I keep thinking the earthquakes will stop, but they just go on and on. It's really scary."

The effect of aftershocks should not be underestimated, as of the 680 that have occurred in Kyushu since the quake, 89 have registered at magnitude four on Japan’s intensity scale.

Things are also made worse by bad weather conditions and heavy rain is forecast for the region, increasing the risk of landslides.

Hundreds of buildings in Kyushu have collapsed under the weight of traditional tile roofs and a large proportion of those technically still standing have been condemned by the authorities as unsafe.

Public buildings in Japan are subject to strict safety regulations when they are built and standards are checked as they are maintained.

This does not extend to private properties, meaning many homes could not withstand the force of the quake, leaving families in need of temporary accommodation.

Akira Wada, professor emeritus at Tokyo Institute of Technology, told Reuters: "When a big earthquake hits, structures may sustain damage that's impossible to fix if there's another quake within days."

Many of the people who were killed had returned to their damaged homes after the first quake.

Food and water shortages remain one of the biggest problems for those living in evacuation centres and without the everyday necessities to survive.

Medical experts are also concerned about other illnesses associated with living in the temporary conditions that are available.

According to NHK, 11 people have died of such maladies and the risk of blood clots from sitting in cramped conditions for long periods of time is another worry.