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Tokyo (AFP) - Nine people were killed after a powerful earthquake hit southern Japan, collapsing homes, sparking fires and injuring hundreds, officials said Friday as rescuers worked through the night to find residents feared trapped in rubble. Tens of thousands of people reportedly fled their homes and television footage showed damaged buildings, buckled roads and lumps of broken concrete in the streets after the 6.5-magnitude quake struck the southwestern island of Kyushu. NHK footage showed what appeared to be a house ablaze and firefighters dousing it with water, one of several fires reportedly sparked by the quake that left at least 780 injured, according to the public broadcaster.
- Nuclear reactors unaffected - The initial quake at 9:26 pm (1226 GMT) was followed two and a half hours later by another strong one measuring 6.4 magnitude in the same region, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. In total, more than 30 earthquakes rocked the region after the first hit, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened a meeting of emergency management officials, according to Suga. Japan's two sole operating nuclear reactors, located on Kyushu, were functioning normally, an official at the Sendai plant told AFP.
A more powerful earthquake has rocked the southern Japanese city of Kumamoto in the middle of the night, a day after an earlier tremor killed nine people. The magnitude-7.3 quake hit at a depth of 10km (six miles) at 01:25 on Saturday (15:25 GMT on Friday). At least one person is known to have died. A village has been evacuated after a dam collapsed as a result of the quake, public broadcaster NHK says. A tsunami warning was issued, and lifted some 50 minutes later.