Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Strong quakes hit Japan and India

CCTV cameras captured the moment the quake struck

A strong earthquake has struck Tokyo and central Japan, halting train services, closing motorways and causing a nuclear power station to shut down.

At least 43 people were injured by the magnitude 6.4 quake, many of them by falling objects, officials said. No deaths have been reported.

Separately, there was another powerful earthquake off India's Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Both earthquakes triggered tsunami alerts, which were later cancelled.

In Japan, the magnitude 6.4 quake shook buildings, threw objects from shelves and jolted people from their sleep in Tokyo area at 0507 (2007 GMT Monday).

The quake was centred in the Pacific Ocean, about 170km (105 miles) south-west of Tokyo, the US Geological Survey reported.

Of those injured, at least three people are thought to be in a serious condition.

"It was a huge tremble, like nothing I had experienced before," said Tadao Negami, a 69-year-old resident of Mishima city in Shizuoka.

Control room of the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Japan's seismologists are constantly waiting for the big one

"I couldn't stay seated on a chair. My daughter and my grandchildren were scared and surprised and they rushed downstairs," AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

A large landslide triggered by the quake damaged a highway at Makinohara, Shizuoka, causing long traffic jams, television footage showed.

The Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka immediately shut down two reactors after the quake, and the Shinkansen bullet train service was briefly suspended.

While officials said there was no risk of a tsunami in Japan, another earthquake in India's Andaman Islands, prompted tsunami warnings there.

The US Geological Survey said the quake - unrelated to Japan's - with a 7.6 magnitude hit the Indian Ocean about 257km (160 miles) north of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.

A tsunami watch called for India, Burma, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh was later lifted without any tsunami being recorded.

An earlier earthquake of magnitude 6.9 hit Japan on Sunday, but caused no damage or casualties.

Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and experts believe Tokyo has a 90% chance of being hit by a major quake over the next 50 years.


BBC NEWS REPORT.

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