Death toll in Osaka quake rises to five

Investigators yesterday checking the collapsed wall that killed a nine-year-old girl at an elementary school in Takatsuki, Osaka prefecture. The education ministry said it would instruct education boards nationwide to inspect school buildings, after
Investigators yesterday checking the collapsed wall that killed a nine-year-old girl at an elementary school in Takatsuki, Osaka prefecture. The education ministry said it would instruct education boards nationwide to inspect school buildings, after the schoolgirl's death in Monday's earthquake.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO • The death toll in a powerful earthquake that rocked Japan's Osaka on Monday has risen to five, with some 370 injured, officials said, urging the public to be vigilant against landslides ahead of heavy rain. The fifth fatality was a 66-year-old man found dead yesterday under a number of books and CDs in his home, a local government spokesman said.

The other casualties were a nine-year-old girl who was killed when a wall collapsed at her school following the 6.1-magnitude quake, and two men and a woman, all in their 80s, who were trapped under a wall or furniture.

"The government will keep up efforts to rescue people," top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters. He said officials would do "everything we can" to quickly restore gas and running water to homes cut off after the quake.

Japan's meteorological agency, meanwhile, warned that heavy rain expected in Osaka yesterday and today could cause landslides in the region, with the quake potentially having loosened earth.

Mr Suga urged residents to be on alert, saying "landslide disasters are possible in the region that experienced strong tremors, even if rains are light".

The weatherman said the region could see 50mm of rain by this morning and up to 100mm in the 24 hours after that to tomorrow morning.

The authorities have also warned of the possibility of strong aftershocks in the coming week and especially in the next two to three days.

A 4.0-magnitude aftershock hit the region early yesterday, the meteorological agency said. Electricity outages caused by the quake have been resolved, but restoring gas and water will take longer, officials said.

Some 1,700 people remained in shelters by yesterday morning as some 250 houses were damaged, local media said.

The education ministry also told AFP that it would instruct education boards nationwide to inspect school buildings, after the death of the nine-year-old girl at her school.

More than 500 primary and secondary schools in Osaka and four other prefectures suffered damage to their buildings including collapsed ceilings and broken window glass, a ministry official said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2018, with the headline 'Death toll in Osaka quake rises to five'. Print Edition | Subscribe