Earthquakes hit Kyushu region of Japan

The 7.0-magnitude quake hit early Saturday local time in Kyushu region of Japan.

After a series of powerful earthquakes hit Japan, emergency crews are scrambling to rescue survivors trapped in rubble as aftershocks sway Kyushu region. At least 23 people died in the latest Kyushu earthquake, according to Kumamoto Prefecture’s disaster management office.

Two days earlier, a 6.2.-magnitude quake rattled the area, killing nine people. This brought the total death toll from both earthquakes to 32. Both earthquakes left 968 people injured, according to the disaster management office.At least 23 people are buried inside buildings, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

After Saturday’s deadly quake, Kumamoto prefecture continues to experience as many as 165 aftershocks.The aftershocks could hamper rescue efforts as emergency workers attempt to pull people trapped in the rubble.

Japan has deployed 20,000 self-defense forces to the rescue effort, Suga said.The Kumamoto government has opened over 100 evacuation centers for residents and have started handing out food, water and blankets, Yoshizumi said. Kumamoto  Castle, a famous site in Japan built in the early 17th century, is also badly damaged, he said.

The Red Cross treated more than 1,000 people in the Kumamoto area Friday, but the organization anticipates the number will increase following Saturday’s earthquake.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had intended to visit Kumamoto on Saturday, but called off his visit. His office told CNN that the prime minister would instead spearhead efforts from Tokyo. The country’s air force will send six planes and nine ships to Kumamoto to deliver food, blankets and all emergency necessities.
Japan received offers of support from other nations.