Several earthquakes hit Japan, results in 40 fatalities and 1000 injured


Photo courtesy of Kyodo

Ann Rajan, Staff Writer

The Japanese cities of Ueki, Uto, and Kumamato suffered through several earthquakes between April 14 and 16, resulting in at least 40 deaths and 1000 injured. The major earthquakes of magnitude 6.2, 6.0, and 7.0 have forced over 100,000 citizens of the area into emergency evacuation centers.

The first earthquake struck Japan’s Kyushu island, quickly followed by a series of smaller aftershocks. The initial tremor collapsed several buildings and incited many landslides. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacted quickly by mobilizing members of Japan’s Self Defense Force, police and fire service to aid the rescue effort. Just a few days later, another earthquake hit the same area, resulting in even more damage. Due to heavy rains coinciding with the crisis, members of the rescue forces were crunched for time in finding survivors.

Japanese motor company Toyota has stated that it will gradually stop production this week due to a shortage of components and damaged equipment in the aftermath of the earthquakes. This will result in a net loss of approximately 50,000 vehicles for the month of April. Other motor companies such as Honda and Nissan have followed suit in halting operations as well.

Freshman Ed Guo is optimistic that the companies will be able to bounce back from the crisis.

“The companies are already well established in other parts of the world,” Guo said. “I’m sure they will be able to rebuild the places that were affected and come back to a normal state.”

The Kumamoto airport and Kyushu Railway have canceled all services. The two nuclear power reactors in Kyushu have continued to operate normally, but over 50,000 homes were without power the following Sunday.

Senior Lauren Lin believes that Japan will be able to overcome the recent struggles and create a stable economy following the disaster.

“The recent rise of natural disasters in Japan will negatively impact Japan’s economy in the short run, but I think it will be able to deal with it better than the crisis in 2011,” Lin said. “I think the country should have precautions set to deal with these types of issues, and they will be able to overcome the aftereffects of this in the long run.”

Less than 24 hours after the magnitude-7.0 earthquake in Japan, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit the coast of Ecuador. Both countries are located in what National Geographic Society deems the “Ring of Fire,” the areas off the coast of the Pacific Ocean where there is high seismic and volcanic activity. Since the two countries are over 9500 miles apart, many believe that the two earthquakes are completely unrelated, but others speculate that the quake in Japan could have remotely triggered the one in Ecuador.

The U.S. military has offered to provide relief supplies to the Japanese area. They are providing aerial support to take care of those seeking shelter. Social Studies teacher Amanda Schmidt believes that the U.S. government and every nation has a responsibility to help.

“I think the U.S. and any nation that can should be providing assistance because natural disasters are unavoidable and all countries will or have experienced them at some point,” she said. “The U.S. is providing relief and the helicopter search support is certainly helpful for the Japanese.”