More than 12,000 buildings are at risk of collapse following the powerful earthquakes that jolted southwestern Japan around two weeks ago, leaving nearly 50 dead, the Japanese government says.
Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has identified 12,013 “dangerous” constructions – which could come crashing down in the event of a fresh quake or other factors – from among more than 43,000 buildings that were reviewed after the quakes that affected Kyushu island, the second most populated in the archipelago.
The number is higher than the 11,699 buildings classified as dangerous after the magnitude 9 quake that struck the northeastern part of the country in 2011, though the two figures cannot be compared in the same terms, given that the post-quake tsunami was responsible for flattening thousands of buildings in the previous instance.
On April 14, Kumamoto prefecture in Kyushu registered a violent 6.5 magnitude earthquake, which triggered a series of tremors, including one of 7.3 magnitude that struck two days later and caused even greater destruction, also affecting the neighbouring city of Oita.
More than 1000 aftershocks have already been experienced since the first of these quakes, and seismic activity is still continuing, with dozens of fresh tremors felt Saturday.
As a result of the quakes, which claimed 49 lives with one person still missing, some 30,000 people remain displaced from their homes.