A series of powerful earthquakes, with the first one measuring a preliminary magnitude of 6.8, rocked northwestern Japan in quick succession Saturday evening, leaving at least five people dead, several others missing and more than 500 injured in Niigata Prefecture.

The quakes caused power blackouts to about 278,000 households in Niigata Prefecture and neighboring areas, according to Tohoku Electric Power Co. The gas supply was halted to roughly 14,000 households in the prefecture.

Landslides were reported and fires broke out. Police said there were reports that a total of about a dozen people were buried under collapsed houses in Ojiya, Kawaguchi and Nagaoka, all in Niigata Prefecture.