BREAKING NEWS: Powerful Earthquakes Hit Niigata
Sunday, October 24, 2004 Posted: 01:11 AM JST
At least 10 people have died and and more than 700 have been wounded after a series of strong earthquakes hit several towns in Niigata Prefecture. The first quake of the series measured 6.8 on the scale of Richter and occurred shortly before 6:00 on Saturday evening. Some 12 people are reported to be missing.
Fires have been reported in at least 8 places, dozens of houses were destroyed and a high-speed bullet train derailed. None of the passengers were injured. Close to 300,000 houses are reported to be without electricity. Water and gas lines are broken in many locations.
The media are warning people to stay away from damaged buildings and observe caution when traveling because many roads and at least two tunnels have collapsed. News programs show large numbers of people huddled in blankets around camp fires in the cold night. Hospitals are overflowing with injured people.
Prime Minister Koizumi has sent a team to Niigata to coordinate rescue activities. The Defense Agency has at least 16 military aircraft in the air and set up an emergency headquarters.
Keywords: national_news disasters
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