Officials expressed concern Wednesday that a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that hit northern Kyushu that morning could hamper the area’s efforts to repair damage caused by a more powerful quake just a month ago.
At least 61 people, mostly in Fukuoka Prefecture, were injured by the 6:11 a.m. quake.
Five people were injured seriously, including a 41-year-old woman who fractured her shoulder while trying to stop a Buddhist altar from falling over in her home in Fukuoka’s Sawara Ward, local authorities said.
Landslides occurred at about five locations on Genkai Island off Fukuoka. Many homes on the island were damaged in the March 20 temblor.
Fukuoka city officials are now building temporary housing units on the island for residents whose homes were rendered uninhabitable in last month’s quake. But the further damage done to homes in Wednesday’s temblor might disrupt the city’s plan, said an official in charge of the repair program.
Many Genkai evacuees remain in public shelters in Fukuoka.
“I was looking forward to rebuilding our lives. But the big quake (Wednesday) left me a bit more backward-looking,” said Kazuyoshi Ito, a 64-year-old resident who participated in a meeting the same day with Fukuoka officials to discuss resuming life on the island.
Wednesday’s quake temporarily halted service on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line as well as conventional train lines and Fukuoka’s subway system in the morning.
About 220,000 households were affected by a 40-minute blackout immediately after the quake, Kyushu Electric Power Co. reported.
Gas was also cut to several hundred households after a safety system was triggered by the quake, Saibu Gas Co. said.
At Fukuoka airport, a glass wall in the terminal was damaged but flight operations were not affected.
The Meteorological Agency said the quake measured upper 5 in the city of Fukuoka and vicinity on the Japanese seismic intensity scale to 7. It was felt in extensive areas in southwestern and western Japan.
The agency said the temblor was the largest aftershock of the magnitude 7 quake that hit northern Kyushu on March 20. Several weaker quakes followed later Wednesday.
“The quake activity has been declining as the number of aftershocks is on the decrease,” Yasuo Sekita, the agency’s director in charge of earthquake information, told a news conference.
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