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Posts Tagged ‘quake’

Japan 7.4 seabed quake sparks tsunami scare, evacuations

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:31 am

TOKYO, Dec 22, 2010 (AFP) – Scores of villagers on a remote Japanese island chain in the Pacific scrambled for higher ground after a major 7.4-magnitude offshore quake early Wednesday sparked a tsunami alert.

The seabed tremor struck at 2:19 am local time (1719 GMT Tuesday), jolting people out of bed as loudspeakers blared across the islands and authorities warned of the risk of a two-metre (six-foot) high local tsunami.

The tsunami alert was later downgraded and all warnings were lifted five hours after the quake hit near the Ogasawara islands, some 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of Tokyo. No injuries or damage were reported.

But about 120 people temporarily evacuated to higher ground on Chichi-shima island and some 50 people on Haha-shima island, Koji Watanabe, a village official on Chichi-shima, said overnight.

“It was the biggest earthquake I have ever felt,” said Masae Nagai, a hotel owner on Chichi-shima, part of the remote archipelago also called the Bonin islands, which has a population of about 2,300.

“We were awakened by the quake. It was scary,” she told AFP by telephone around sunrise, but she added that the walls of her hotel were not cracked and that “things have returned to normal”.

Local authorities on the Ogasawara islands, near Iwo Jima, said they had set up five shelters for local residents but had closed them before sunrise as there were no reports of injuries or property damage.

“The jolts were relatively stronger than those we have felt in the past,” Kenichi Mochida, another Chichi-shima official, told AFP.

“But there was no panic as people acted in an orderly manner,” Mochida said. “Residents who were in the shelters have already returned home.”

The quake hit at a shallow depth of 14 kilometres, 153 kilometres (95 miles) east of Chichi-shima, and was followed by a series of aftershocks measuring between 5.3 and 5.6 which continued into the morning.

About three hours after the quake, a 60 centimetre (two feet) wave was monitored 700 kilometres away at Hachijo-jima, part of the Izu island chain that runs south of Tokyo, the meteorological agency said.

Authorities warned of the risk of further aftershocks.

“We would like people to remain on full alert as subsequent waves could be higher than the first ones,” Hirofumi Yokoyama, a meteorological agency official in charge of tsunami observation, told a Tokyo news conference.

The Ogasawara chain, made up of more than 30 subtropical and tropical islets some 240 kilometres north of Iwo Jima, were put under the control of the United States after World War II, and returned to Japan in 1968.

The remote islands have preserved their unique biological habitats and have been dubbed the “Galapagos of the Orient”.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said after sounding the initial alert there was no threat of a destructive widespread tsunami and no nearby islands were thought to be in the tsunami danger zone.

But it warned in a bulletin shortly after the quake: “Earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre.

“Authorities in the region of the epicentre should be aware of this possibility and take appropriate action.”

Around 20 percent of the world’s most powerful earthquakes strike Japan, which sits on the “Ring of Fire” surrounding the Pacific Ocean.

In 1995 a magnitude-7.2 quake in the port city of Kobe killed 6,400 people.

But high building standards, regular drills and a sophisticated tsunami warning system mean that casualties are often minimal.

Source: SGGP

Iran quake kills seven, wrecks villages

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:30 am

TEHRAN, Dec 21, 2010 (AFP) – A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Iran, wrecking villages, bringing down power lines, and killing up to seven people and injuring hundreds more, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.

The late Monday quake, with its epicentre near the town of Hosseinabad in Kerman province, was followed by more than 30 further tremors, including one of 5.0 magnitude, the Mehr news agency said, quoting the geophysics department of Tehran university.

Iranian men gather around the bodies of victims killed in the earthquake. AFP

State media reported that mild tremors continued into Tuesday near the epicentre of the main quake.

“So far damage has been concentrated in villages in the areas of Sahraj, and seven dead and hundreds of injured have been pulled from the debris,” Mehr quoted Kerman governor Esmail Najjar as saying.

“Considering the damage, the death toll is expected to rise,” he added.

Other Iranian media gave slightly different casualty tolls. The state television website quoted the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Gholam Reza Masoumi, as saying that four people had died.

The deputy governor of Kerman province, Javad Kamali, told state television that five people had died and that the death toll could rise.

“Around 30 villages are still cut off as they are in a mountainous region. Our helicopters have been despatched since early morning and we will get a fuller assessment later in the day,” Kamali said.

The quake struck at 10:12 pm (1842 GMT) on Monday and was felt as far away as the neighbouring province of Sistan-Baluchestan on the Pakistan border.

State media reports said the temblor brought down communication and power lines and wrecked villages around the epicentre of Hosseinabad, many of which consist of mud-brick homes.

Nearly two dozen villages were partially or completely destroyed, the reports said, adding that members of the Basij militia had been deployed to help the victims.

Hosseinabad lies near the city of Bam, the site of the deadliest earthquake to hit Iran in recent times.

The 6.3-magnitude quake in December 2003 killed 31,000 people — about a quarter of Bam’s population — and destroyed the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.

Iran sits astride several major fault lines in the Earth’s crust and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.

Source: SGGP

At least seven killed, hundreds injured in Iran quake

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

At least seven people were killed in a 6.5-magnitude earthquake that jolted southeastern Iran on Monday, damaging buildings in outlying mountainous areas, the region’s governor said.

“Seven people have been killed and hundreds have been injured. Hundreds of people are still trapped under the rubbles,” Esmail Najjar, governor of Iran’s Kerman province, the center of the quake, told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

State television said at least three villages had been destroyed.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake’s magnitude at 6.3.

The official IRNA news agency said nine aftershocks had hit since the main quake, including one of magnitude 5. Telephone lines had been cut.

Mohammad Javad Kamyab, an employee of Kerman province governor’s office, told Reuters there were 30 villages in the quake-hit area.

“These villages are not heavily populated…We are not expecting a high death toll and so far 25 people have been injured,” he said.

Another local official said access to the damaged villages “was very difficult.”

“Rescue teams have been dispatched to the quake-hit area … and are communicating via walkie-talkies,” Hossein Baqeri, head of Iran’s National Crisis Management unit, told state television.

The semi-official Fars news agency said the quake was also felt in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Many people left their houses in the city of Zahedan … It was also felt in the towns of Bam, Khash and Iranshahr,” Fars reported.

Ali Reza, a resident of Bam, told Reuters by telephone: “There was no damage in the city of Bam but we felt the quake.”

The province of Kerman is highly prone to earthquakes. Some 31,000 people were killed when an earthquake razed Bam in 2003.

Kerman is not one of the oil-producing regions of Iran, the world’s fourth-biggest crude exporter. Iran is criss-crossed by major faultlines and is frequently hit by earthquakes.

In 2008 a magnitude 6.1 quake struck the southern port of Bandar Abbas, killing at least seven people and injuring 40.

An official in the governor’s office of Kerman province told Reuters by telephone: “The quake-hit area is a deserted area.”

State television, quoting an unnamed local Red Crescent official, said: “In some rural parts of the region … the quake has caused heavy damage to buildings, especially in Hosseinabad village, where the houses were made of earthen bricks.”

Source: SGGP

Moderate quake strikes Indonesia

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2010 at 3:55 am

Sharp quake rattles New Zealand city

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm

An earthquake rattled the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch on Tuesday, cutting power and phone service and sending some residents running into the streets just weeks after a more powerful quake caused extensive damage.

The magnitude 5.0 temblor was one of hundreds of aftershocks that have hit the city since a magnitude-7 quake on Sept. 4 that wrecked thousands of homes, tore up farmland but did not kill anyone. The latest one shook buildings and sent objects tumbling from shelves, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

“Very scary,” said cafe owner Flick Holmes. “It definitely was a very big one. Everything rocked. Just when you think you’re getting used to it, (another) goes,” she said.

A young boy takes advantage of warped road to skateboard on in Paiapoi, 20km south of Christchurch, New Zealand, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010.

Regional civil defense official Jon Mitchell said authorities had received reports of damage to stone and brick buildings but no reports of significant damage. The quake had sparked the evacuation of many businesses in the central city, he said.

Prime Minister John Key told reporters he was concerned for the city’s resident who “just want the aftershocks to come to an end.”

Tuesday’s quake was centered six miles (10 kilometers) southwest of the city and just five miles (nine kilometers) below the surface, New Zealand’s geological agency GNS Science said. It was felt strongly because it was so shallow, agency seismologist Bill Fry told New Zealand’s National Radio.

More aftershocks of a similar magnitude were likely and the region could still be experiencing aftershocks in a year’s time, Fry said.

Electricity and phone service were cut to several parts of the city, civil defense officials said.

“All our china is smashed in our kiosk,” said Fiona Fidow at the Cupcake Collection shop in Westfield Mall in suburban Riccarton.

“The mall has been evacuated. Quite a few people are crying and hysterical. There are a lot of frightened people,” she told the “Stuff” news web site.

About 300 workers were evacuated from a construction site at Christchurch International Airport, while the airport itself reopened after it was closed briefly so engineers could check its runways for cracks.

Officials have estimated that 50,000 homes in the city need major repairs from the earlier quake, with some 1,200 houses likely to be demolished and rebuilt. They have estimated that the full bill for quake damage could reach 4 billion New Zealand dollars ($2.9 billion).

Source: SGGP

Quake strikes Iran for second day: reports

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm

TEHRAN, July 31, 2010 (AFP) – A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Iran on Saturday, reports said without providing details on any casualties, a day after a weaker quake injured over 270 people in the country’s northeast.

The latest temblor rattled the southern province of Kerman at 11:22 am (0652 GMT), the website of state television reported, citing the geophysics department of Tehran university.

It disrupted communications, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Fars news agency said the epicentre was in the town of Negar in southwest Kerman. It also said there were no immediate reports of casualties, and added the area where the quake struck was rural.

On Friday, a 5.7 magnitude quake rattled northeastern Khorasan Razavi province, leaving at least 274 people injured, ILNA news agency reported, adding only 12 victims were hospitalised.

Iran, including the capital Tehran, sits astride several major fault lines in the earth’s crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.

The worst in recent times, of magnitude 6.3, hit the southern city of Bam in December 2003, killing 31,000 people — about a quarter of its population — and destroying the city’s ancient mud-built citadel.

Source: SGGP

7.2 quake hits South Pacific nation of Vanuatu

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2010 at 5:10 am

 Residents of a northern town in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu ran into the streets Friday as a powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook the area, police said.

The magnitude 7.2 quake rattled the island country, briefly triggering a tsunami watch for the region, officials said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 4.14 a.m. local time and was centered 300 miles (485 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Port Vila, at a depth of 22 miles (36 kilometers). Three more sharp quakes followed in the same area, including a magnitude 6.4 more than three hours later.

“Some people left their houses in the town — they ran out the doors,” police spokesman James Tari said from Luganville, the main settlement on Espirito Santo, the main island closest to the quakes.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued a tsunami warning for Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, but canceled the alert about an hour later.

The center’s duty geophysicist Barry Hershorn said they had confirmed there was no tsunami from ocean buoys and from coastal sea level gauges in Vanuatu.

The quake was “a little bigger than usual — for me the shake was a really big one,” he said. “At the moment there are no reports of injury or damage.”

Authorities in Vanuatu said they were checking for information on the quake and were pleased the tsunami alert had been canceled.

“The very close proximity (of the quake epicenter) to Espirito Santo meant there was nothing much we could do” to alert residents to any danger, said Meteorological Office acting director Salesa Kaniaha.

Vanuatu — a chain of 83 islands — lies just over 1,400 miles (2,200 kilometers) northeast of Sydney.

Vanuatu is part of the Pacific “ring of fire” — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from Chile in South America through Alaska and down through Vanuatu to Tonga in the South Pacific.

Source: SGGP

Silent tribute as China mourns quake victims

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2010 at 4:10 am

China observed a day of national mourning on Wednesday for victims of its killer quake, with newspaper front pages bathed in black and flags lowered to half-mast around the country.

Top leaders and thousands of other people paid a silent tribute to the victims of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck a remote area of northwestern China a week ago, leaving at least 2,064 people dead.

Another 175 people were still missing and more than 12,000 injured after the quake flattened thousands of mainly mudbrick and wood homes in the Yushu region of Qinghai province, a rugged area populated by ethnic Tibetans.

The whole of Qinghai held three minutes of silence at 10:00 am (0200 GMT), while state television showed Chinese President Hu Jintao and other top leaders in Beijing bowing their heads in silent tribute to the victims.

China has observed a day of national mourning for the victims of its killer earthquake, with newspaper front pages bathed in black and flags lowered to half-mast around the country.

“Please be silent for our compatriots who died in the Qinghai Yushu quake,” said a sombre-looking Hu, surrounded by eight other leaders.

In Jiegu, the main town in the disaster zone, officials and rescuers stood silently among the ruins as Chinese flags planted in the rubble fluttered in the wind, state television showed.

And in the main square of Qinghai’s capital Xining, thousands of military personnel, officials, students and citizens mostly clad in black stood in rows, their heads bowed under a light snowfall as sirens and car horns blared.

Throughout the country, the government and its propaganda organs seized on the disaster in a Tibetan region with a restive history to stress national unity.

“In solidarity with the people,” read a front-page headline in the People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece.

Aid and relief personnel have poured into the disaster area on the Tibetan plateau at an altitude of around 4,000 metres (over 13,000 feet), after delays that officials blamed on its remote location.

Wei Guijun, of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency, told reporters the government had already sent 550 million yuan (80 million dollars) in relief funds to the quake zone.

Rescuers were still sifting through rubble in Jiegu, but snow and hail have hindered relief efforts and slowed delivery of badly needed supplies, while altitude sickness also hit many of the workers.

China’s state meteorological agency forecast intermittent rain and snow in the coming days with night temperatures dipping to near-freezing.

On state television, grim-faced anchors delivered emotional tributes to the victims as they devoted all coverage to the day of mourning.

“Yushu, your suffering is our suffering. Your mourning is our mourning,” a woman anchor intoned.

In central Beijing, authorities lowered the national flag to half-mast at Tiananmen Square, and flags were also to be lowered at Chinese embassies and consulates worldwide.

All major state-run newspapers and their online versions carried blackened mastheads while the websites of some government departments were also stripped of colour.

Entertainment activities have been ordered suspended, shutting down cinemas, professional football matches, some television programmes and activity related to the Shanghai Expo opening next month, media reports said.

Foreign entertainment-related television channels such as HBO and ESPN had their programmes blocked in China, replaced by a notice on a black background saying it was due to quake mourning.

International news channels such as CNN and the BBC remained unblocked.

Source: SGGP

China’s Hu visits quake zone

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm

JIEGU, China, April 18, 2010 (AFP) – President Hu Jintao travelled to remote quake-hit northwestern China Sunday to inspect relief efforts as rescuers struggled to cope with a disaster that has killed more than 1,400 people.

The Chinese leader, who cut short a trip to Latin America to oversee the emergency response, went to visit victims in Jiegu, the largest city in the shattered region, four days after it was hit by a 6.9-magnitude quake.

Hu on Saturday chaired a meeting of China’s top leaders, urging all-out efforts for the quake response, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A young quake survivor uses a mobile phone in an attempt to reach relatives in Jiegu, Yushu County, on April 18, 2010. AFP photo

“As long as we have hope, we will put 100 percent into the rescue work,” Miao Chonggang, an emergency official at the China Earthquake Administration, told a news briefing.

More than 6,000 people have been pulled alive from the rubble of collapsed buildings, Miao said. The number of personnel aiding rescue and recovery operations on the Tibetan Plateau had risen to 15,000, he said.

On Jiegu’s streets, boxes of bottled water were dropped to help residents cope with water shortages as aid continued to pour in.

Infrastructure in Jiegu suffered major damage in the quake, with the water supply “basically paralysed”, Xia Xueping, spokesman for relief efforts, told a news briefing in the town.

Geng Yang, the head of the civil affairs bureau in Qinghai province, told reporters that essential items such as food, drinking water, cold-weather tents, quilts and clothing remained in short supply in the isolated area.

A 20-member Red Cross team from Taiwan was expected to arrive in the quake zone on Sunday, Xinhua reported, to help with surgery and public health work.

Officials have warned of a growing disease threat due to sanitation risks including damage to water supplies that could leave them polluted, although no such outbreaks had yet been reported.

Source: SGGP

Hungry survivors await help after China quake

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 8:53 am

Stunned survivors of China’s earthquake complained of hunger Friday as the government rushed supplies and personnel into the remote disaster zone high on the Tibetan plateau.

The wail of sirens and stench of death filled the air as relief vehicles thundered into the hard-hit town of Jiegu near the epicentre of Wednesday’s quake in Qinghai province.

Thousands of survivors of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that left 791 dead woke from a second freezing and hungry night without food or shelter.

“I have lost everything,” a distraught ethnic Tibetan woman who gave her name as Sonaman told AFP.

Tibetan Buddhist monks gather to watch search and rescue operations underway in Jiegu, Yushu County, on April 16

Wandering the streets with her four-year-old nephew tucked under her coat, Sonaman, 52, said through tears that her mother, father, and sister had died.

“My house has been destroyed. It’s been flattened. My family lost 10 people. We have nothing. We have nothing to eat.”

The death toll looked set to climb with another 294 people still trapped under rubble in the devastated town.

Premier Wen Jiabao called for all-out efforts to find survivors as he toured the area Friday.

“We will make all-out efforts to build a new Yushu,” Wen told victims, according to official Xinhua news agency, a day after exhorting rescuers to step up rescue efforts.

The quake flattened thousands of the mud and wood homes inhabited by ethnic Tibetans, who make up more than 90 percent of the region’s people, and also heavily damaged sturdier concrete structures such as schools.

State media said the dead included 103 students and 12 teachers as schools and dormitories collapsed, with dozens more buried or missing.

The casualties recalled the devastating 2008 earthquake in neighbouring Sichuan province, in which thousands of students were among the 87,000 killed or missing in that disaster amid allegations shoddy construction was to blame.

Diggers and other heavy equipment were among the machinery trickling into town but they remained unequal to the scale of the destruction in Jiegu and locals continued to pick frantically through collapsed buildings.

“There are people in here. We have got to find them. We can’t stop until we find them,” said a Tibetan Buddhist monk, one of several sorting through a pile of rubble in central Jiegu that reeked of the foul stench of dead bodies.

The thousands of rescuers who have made it to the remote mountainous region were battling temperatures that dipped to 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) as well as a lack of oxygen in the thin atmosphere.

Jiegu’s altitude of around 3,600 metres (11,800 feet) could also cause problems for the nearly 11,500 people injured by the quake, reports said.

The China Daily quoted experts saying cold, low-oxygen conditions can make blood vessels constrict, causing injured body parts to die and contributing to kidney failure.

Officials said medical teams and supplies such as tents and quilts were on their way to the zone, where doctors had already set up makeshift hospitals to treat victims of the deadliest quake in China in two years.

Thousands of soldiers were joining police and other personnel in the effort.

But for many the relief effort was too little, too late.

“I lost my husband and I lost my house,” Gandan, a Jiegu resident, told AFP, her son and daughter at her side. All three were living in a tent near the collapsed house with other people, with one bowl of barley to share.

Officials have assured the public the disaster will be dealt with but warned of delays due to difficulty in reaching the quake-hit area.

President Hu Jintao cut short a Latin American tour and Wen postponed a trip to Southeast Asia to deal with the disaster.

Hu told a news conference in Brasilia the quake was “a huge calamity which resulted in big losses of human life”.

Rescuers and traumatised survivors also were contending with hundreds of aftershocks since the initial quake, including one with a 4.5 magnitude late Thursday.

Source: SGGP