At least two are reported dead and nineteen houses collapsed in southern Japan following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake which struck the nation at 12:26 GMT (9:26 PM local time). Japanese media are reporting at least 100 people injured near Kumamoto city on the island of Kyushu, some seriously so. Those numbers could go up as rescue teams search the rubble for victims who may still be trapped.
The quake struck at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), which is relatively shallow for this type of quake. While the magnitude was not incredibly high, the shaking in some places was nearly as intense as the disastrous magnitude 9 earthquake that struck the country in 2011 and triggered the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Two aftershocks were reported in the following hours, measuring 5.7 and 6.4 in magnitude. Fortunately, there was no tsunami warning following this quake. Kyushu is home to several nuclear power reactors, however, some were already closed for routine inspection at the time of the quake, and those that remained online appear to be operating normally.
The quake has disrupted local utilities, cutting off power for 16,000 homes and gas for 38,000. More than 1,200 people have been evacuated from the area already. It’s estimated that 750,000 people in the area felt the shaking.
Via BBC News