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Japan quake: Rain complicates rescue effort (Updated Sun.)

The aerial view shows a landslide after an earthquake in Minami-Aso, Kumamoto prefecture on April 16, 2016. A powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit southern Japan early April 16, the US Geological Survey said, a day after another powerful tremor killed at least nine people in the same area. / AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / STR / Japan

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More than 40 people are known to have died in the two big earthquakes that hit southern Japan as rescuers were racing against the weather and the threat of more landslides.

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Sunday update

Rescuers race against landslides to reach Japan quake victims

Mashiki, Japan, April 17, 2016, AFP – Rescuers were racing against the weather and the threat of more landslides Sunday to reach people still trapped by two big earthquakes that hit southern Japan.

At last 41 people are known to have died in the double disaster, with at least six still missing – feared buried in shattered houses or under torrents of mud.

Heavy rain was lashing the area around Kumamoto, where officials have warned quake-loosened hillsides could be at risk of collapse as aftershocks continued to roil the ground.

The aerial view shows a message reading "Give US Drinking Water" on the playground of Konan Junior High School in Kumamoto on April 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / STR / Japan

The weather was also bringing further misery to those who survived Thursday's initial quake and the bigger, more powerful tremor that hit early Saturday.

In the badly-affected town of Mashiki, few of the traditional style wooden houses remained intact, and their occupants described the hardships of surviving in the destruction.

"I sleep in a car and stay in this tent during the day," Seiya Takamori, 52, told AFP, gesturing to a shelter made from a blue plastic tarp.

"In this area, we all knew there was an active fault running underneath the town of Mashiki, but no one really cared about it.

"We always said to each other that a big quake would hit at some point, but not really taking it seriously."

Neighbour Masanori Masuda, 59, was also fending off the weather in a makeshift tent.

He said many houses were in reasonable shape after the first tremor, but had suffered badly when the second quake struck, leaving occupants without basic necessities.

"I need batteries to charge my mobile phone. Also, I need a toilet. I am afraid of going into the battered house, but I cannot help it. I take a bucket of water with me and have to use the toilet in the house," he said.

Evacuees queue for food supplies at an entrance of the Kumamoto City Hall on April 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

The two quakes triggered enormous landslides that swept away homes, roads and railway lines, and reduced even modern buildings to rubble.

More than 90,000 people have been evacuated, including 300 from an area near a dam thought to be at risk of collapse.

Isolated villages in mountainous areas near the city of Kumamoto were completely cut off by landslides and damage to roads. At least 500 people were believed trapped in one settlement.

Aerial footage showed a bridge on a main trunk road had crashed onto the carriageway below it, its pillars felled.

The government said Saturday that there were "multiple locations where people have been buried alive" as it sent in 25,000 troops, firefighters, medics and other rescue personnel.

Around 400 aftershocks have rocked Kumamoto and other parts of central Kyushu, an area unaccustomed to the powerful quakes that regularly rattle other parts of Japan.

Thursday's initial quake affected older buildings and killed nine people, but Saturday's brought newer structures crashing down, including a municipal office in the city of Uto.

The combined death toll remained at 41 and six people are unaccounted for, local officials said Sunday.
Nearly 1,000 people have been hurt, 184 of them seriously.

Around 80,000 households were still without electricity, Kyushu Electric Power said, while about 320,000 homes were reportedly without water

Saturday evening update

AFP – Scores of people were feared buried alive Saturday after two powerful quakes hit southern Japan a day apart, killing at least 32 people, and as a forecast storm threatened more devastating landslides.

Homes, roads and railway lines were swept away when huge hillsides collapsed, as thousands of tonnes of mud was dislodged by the thunderous seismic tremors.

Buildings were reduced to rubble, including a university dormitory and apartment complexes, with dozens of people unaccounted for over a wide area.

A member of a rescue team runs on a street cracked by the earthquake in Mashiki, Kumamoto prefecture on April 16, 2016. A powerful earthquake hit southern Japan early April 16, authorities said, sending panicked residents out of their homes. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

"We are aware of multiple locations where people have been buried alive," chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

"Police, firefighters and Self Defense Force personnel are doing all they can to rescue them."

Around 70,000 people have been evacuated, including 300 from an area close to a dam thought to be at risk of collapse.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said rain was expected to hit Kumamoto from Saturday evening, and some areas would see heavy downpours on Sunday, raising the risk of further landslides in places where soil and rock has already been loosened.

A man clears away debris of a broken wall in Mashiki, Kumamoto prefecture on April 16, 2016, after a second powerful earthquake hit the area early Saturday morning / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

Update 9:10

With daylight arriving, there are reports that the second earthquake has caused major damage and loss of life.  NHK is now reporting at least 11 people have died in the latest earthquake. There has been damage over a wide area, incuding fires, collapsed bridges and fears that a dam might break.

At least seven dead after new Japan earthquake

Mashiki, Japan, AFP – At least seven people died after a powerful earthquake hit southern Japan on Saturday, just over a day after another strong tremor in the same area, an official said as rescuers desperately searched for victims trapped in rubble.

A handout photo shows an aerial view released by the Defence Ministry showing a landslide in Mimami-Aso, Kuammoto prefecture, on April 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / DEFENCE MINISTRY via JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS

Takayuki Matsushita, an official with Kumamoto prefecture on the quake-hit southern island of Kyushu, said seven were confirmed dead, citing police and fire departments. Public broadcaster NHK puts the number at nine.

An aerial view shows damaged houses in the town of Mashiki in Kumamoto prefecture after the first earthquake, a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake, hit Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu on April 14. Last night, a second more powerful earthquake hit the same area. / AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS

The quake on the southwestern island of Kyushu sparked a fresh wave of destruction and was followed by a wave of aftershocks in the region where nerves are already frayed following Thursday's earthquake that killed nine people.

The powerful shaking triggered a huge landslide that swept away homes and cut off a highway in one area, and unlike the earlier quake which mostly affected old houses, larger buildings were damaged and some toppled across Kumamoto prefecture, the epicentre of the quakes.

Evacuated residents wait at a park in Higashi-ku in Kumamoto City on April 16, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

Public broadcaster NHK said that at least 760 people were injured in the latest tremor, while a government spokesperson said scores were trapped or buried alive.

Eleven people were stuck in a damaged apartment building in Minami-Aso near the landslide, a Kumamoto prefecture official said.

"We don't know their condition," he said, declining to be named.

Medical staff prepare to evacuate patients from the hospital in Kumamoto City on April 16, 2016, over fears it could collapse as a wave of aftershocks shook the area. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

In nearby Kumamoto city, authorities were evacuating patients from a hospital over fears it could collapse and images showed the building slanted.

Hisako Ogata, 61, evacuated to a nearby park with her daughter, where some 50 other people sat on blue plastic sheets.

"We left my house as we could not stay due to continuous jolts," Ogata told AFP.

"It was so scary," she added. "Thank God we are still alive."

An AFP journalist in the city at the time said he was jolted awake by powerful shaking, which sent the television set in his hotel room crashing to the floor. Staff urged guests to evacuate.

Learn from listening

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Vocabulary:

aerial (adj): (of a photograph or video) from a plane or helicopter - ภาพถ่ายทางอากาศ

aftershock : a sudden movement of the Earth's surface which often follows an earthquake and which is less violent than the first main movement - แผ่นดินไหวเล็กน้อยที่เกิดหลังจากแผ่นดินไหวรุนแรง

battered : badly damaged - ที่ถูกทำลายยับเยิน

broadcaster : a person, company or organisation whose job is presenting or talking on television or radio programmes - ผู้กระจายเสียงทางวิทยุหรือโทรทัศน์

bucket : a container with an open top and a handle, often used for carrying liquids - ถัง

buried (verb): covered completely by something - ฝัง

cabinet : the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี

citing : mentioning as a reason - ให้ อ้างอิงเหตุผล

collapse : to fall down suddenly - พังลงมา  ล้ม, พังครืน

combined : counted together - รวมกัน

complex : a large building with various connected rooms or a related group of buildings -

condition : the physical state of a person or animal, especially how healthy they are - อาการ, สุขภาพ

dam : a wall built across a river to stop the water from flowing, especially in order to create a lake or to help to produce electric power - เขื่อน

death toll : the number of people killed - ยอดผู้เสียชีวิต

debris : broken pieces that are left when something large has been destroyed - เศษ ซากปรักหักพัง  ซากสิ่งของที่ถูกทำลาย

decline (verb): to say politely that you will not accept something, do something, or say something - ปฏิเสธ, ปฏิเสธที่จะทำ 

desperately : feeling or showing that you have little hope and are ready to do anything without worrying about danger to yourself or others - ทิ้งไพ่ตาย อย่างสุดชีวิต อย่างเอาเป็นเอาตาย

destruction : when something is destroyed - การทำลาย, ภาวะที่ถูกทำลาย

devastating : damaging badly or destroying - ทำลายล้าง

dislodge (verb): to force or knock something out of its position - ทำให้หลุดจากที่, ทำให้เคลื่อน, เอาออกจากที่เดิม

dormitory : a large building in or near a college or university, where students live - หอพัก

downpour : a lot of rain in a short time - ฝนตกหนักมาก, พายุฝน

earthquake : a sudden shaking movement of the ground - แผ่นดินไหว

enormous : extremely large - มหาศาล

epicentre (noun): the point on the earth's surface where the effects of an earthquake are felt most strongly; the central point of something - ศูนย์กลาง

evacuate : to cause to leave a place because it is not safe - เคลื่อนย้ายออกจาก

evacuee : a person who leaves a place of danger - ผู้อพยพ

fault line : a fault (= break in the Earth's surface) - รอยเลื่อนของเปลือกโลก

fell (verb): to cut down a tree; to cause something to fall - โค่น

fend off : to defend yourself against an attack - ขจัด, ป้องกัน

footage : film or video of a particular subject or event - ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์ หรือวิดีโอ

forecast : a statement about what will happen in the future based on information available now - การพยากรณ์, การคาดการณ์

frayed (adj): feeling annoyed, irritated or frustrated - ตึงเครียด

fresh : new; made or experienced recently - ใหม่, เมื่อเร็วๆนี้, สดๆ ร้อนๆ

gesture (verb): to move your hands, head, face, etc. as a way of expressing what you mean or want - แสดงท่าทาง

hardships : difficulties - ความลำบาก

household : a group of people, often a family, who live together - ครัวเรือน

image : a photograph, painting, or other work of art that represents a person or thing - รูปภาพ

initial : early; first - เบื้องต้น

intact : not harmed, damaged, or lacking any parts as a results of something that has happened - สมบูรณ์ ไม่บุบสลาย

isolated : set apart from; disconnected from - แยกออกมา ตั้งอยู่เดี่ยวๆ

jolt : to shock; to cause to move suddenly - ทำให้ตกใจ

jolt (noun): a sudden rough movement - การกระตุก, การกระแทก, การเขย่า

journalist : a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television - ผู้สื่อข่าว

landslide : a mass of rock and earth moving suddenly and quickly down a steep slope - แผ่นดินถล่ม

local : in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

location : where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล

magnitude : size or strength - ขนาดหรือ ความรุนแรง

makeshift : using whatever is available and therefore not very good - สำหรับใช้ชั่วคราว, ใช้ประทังไปก่อน

medic : a person who is trained to give medical treatment, especially somebody in the armed forces - แพทย์, หมอ

meteorological : relating to the study and prediction of the weather - เกี่ยวกับทางอุตุนิยมวิทยา

misery : something that causes people to suffer or be unhappy - ความทุกข์ยาก, ความยากแค้น, ความเดือดร้อน

multiple : many - มากมาย

necessities : things you must have in order to live, work, or do something - สิ่งจำเป็น

nerves : a worried feeling that makes you afraid that you will not be able to do something well - ความเครียด, ความวิตกกังวล

occupants : people who are in a particular place, vehicle, building, etc. at a particular time - ผู้ครอบครอง

official : someone with an important position in an organisation - เจ้าหน้าที่

panicked : anxious about something; feeling or showing panic - ตกใจ

patient : someone who is receiving medical treatment - คนป่วย, คนไข้

pillar : a strong column made of stone, metal or wood which supports part of a building or structure - เสาหลัก

prefecture : one of the districts into which some countries are divided - อำเภอ

press conference : an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว

public : provided, especially by the government, for the use of people in general - ของสาธารณะ

queue up : to stand in a line waiting for something - เข้าคิว, เข้าแถว

region : a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ

reportedly : as reported (often used for showing that you are not certain that something you are reporting is true) - ตามที่รายงาน

rescuer : a person whose job is to save someone from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - ผู้ช่วยชีวิต

residents : people living in a particular area - ประชาชนผู้อยู่อาศัยในบริเวณ

risk : the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง

rock (verb): to shake or to make something shake violently - สั่นสะเทือน, ทำให้สั่นสะเทือน

roil (verb): to move quickly and violently in different directions; to make a liquid, cloud, surface, etc. move quickly and violently in different directions - กวนน้ำอย่างแรง

rubble : broken pieces of stone and brick from building, walls, etc., that have been destroyed - ซากปรักหักพัง

scary : frightening - น่าตกใจ, น่ากลัว

scores : large numbers of - จำนวนมาก

search (verb): to look somewhere carefully in order to find someone/something - ค้นหา

seismic : connected with or caused by earthquakes - เกี่ยวกับแผ่นดินไหว

settlement : a place where people come to live - ชุมชน

shake (past form shook) : to move or make someone or something move with short, quick movements - สั่น, สั่นสะเทือน, เขย่า

shape : condition - สภาพ

shelter : a temporary place to stay - ที่พักชั่วคราว

slant (verb): to slope or to make something slope in a particular direction or at a particular angle - เอน, เอียง

soil : the substance on the surface of the Earth in which plants grow - ดิน

spark : to make something happen - ก่อให้เกิด

staff : workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน

structure : something large such as a building or a bridge that is built from different parts - โครงสร้าง

survived : continued to live or exist - รอดมาได้

sweep away : to destroy or to completely remove something - พัดพาไป (ตามลมหรือน้ำ)

tarpaulin (noun): a large sheet made of heavy waterproof material, used to cover things with and to keep rain off - ผ้าใบกันน้ำ

threaten : to put at risk; to put in danger - ทำให้ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง

thunderous : very loud - ดังสนั่น,มีเสียงกังวาน

topple : to cause to fall - คว่ำลงมา

traditional : things (buildings, clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time - แบบดั้งเดิม, เป็นประเพณี

trapped  : to be unable to leave a place - ถูกกับดัก

tremor : a shaking of the earth; an earthquake - การสั่นสะเทือน

trigger : to cause - ก่อให้เกิด กระตุ้น

unaccounted for : a person or thing that cannot be found and people do not know what has happened to them or it - ซึ่งหายไป

urge : to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น

victims  : people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย

wave : an activity or situation which is happening again or is being repeated after a pause -

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