Elderly man, 9-year-old girl killed as strong quake hits Osaka

Blanche Robertson
June 18, 2018

At least three people have been confirmed killed and more casualties are feared, after a magnitude 6.1 natural disaster hit north of Osaka Prefecture in western Japan, local media report.

A 9-year-old girl and two men in their 80s have been killed by a strong quake in the western Japan metropolis of Osaka.

Water floods out from crack in the road, following an quake in Takatsuki, Osaka, Monday.

At least 51 people were injured, mainly across the northern Osaka and neighboring prefectures, the broadcaster reports, citing data from local police and fire departments.

The nine-year-old girl died when she was knocked down by a concrete wall at her school, while a man in his 80s died when a concrete wall collapsed in Osaka city. The Osaka prefectural government reported two deaths, and an Ibaraki city official confirmed a third.

"We were sleeping and it woke us up abruptly", said Kate Kilpatrick, 19, an American who was staying in a hotel in Osaka when the quake hit.

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The quake knocked over walls, broke windows and set off scattered building fires. It toppled book shelves in homes and scattered goods on the floor of convenience stores and other shops. The inland quake poses no tsunami risk.

The jolt struck during the Monday morning rush hour, and forced a halt to some rail services.

Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters at a hastily convened press conference that there were no immediate reports of heavy damage, and that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had ordered relevant ministries to gather information on the quake.

Kansai Electric said on its website that around 170,000 homes in the Osaka region were without power.

Daihatsu Motor Co, a unit of Toyota Motor Corp, said it had suspended production at its factories in Osaka and Kyoto while it checked for damage. In 1995, a magnitude 6.9 natural disaster killed more than 6,000 people when it struck in neighbouring Kobe.

Senior government officials are gathering for an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister's office, broadcaster NHK reported.

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