Powerful quake injures at least 20 in northern Japan

Ruptured roads and mudslides hampered rescue efforts

A large natural disaster has struck Japan's biggest northern island, Hokkaido, collapsing buildings and damaging critical infrastructure.

At least one person was killed and 32 were missing, Japanese media reported, after the quake paralysed the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday.

Rescue workers search for survivors from a house damaged by a landslide caused by an quake in Atsuma town, Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 6, 2018.

100 people are injured and 19 missing following the quake on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing Japanese broadcaster NHK. The number missing had earlier been put at 19. "I thought my house would collapse".

According to Hokkaido Electric Power Co., power has been restored to 1.4 million houses - about 40 percent of the population - as of Friday morning but authorities warned it could take as long as a week to get the service fully back to normal.

Hokkaido Electric Power officials said they had no idea when operations would resume but were working to start up a hydroelectric plant to resume supplying electricity.

Transports were also badly affected, as all trains across the island were halted.

Rescue operations continue at the site where a house was destroyed by a landslide after a powerful quake in Atsuma, Japan, on Thursday, September 6.

The island's train system and its main New Chitose Airport has been shutdown.

Japan is now reeling from a deadly typhoon, the strongest in 25 years, that struck the west of the country last week, killing at least 10 people.

Kansai International Airport has been shut since Typhoon Jebi ripped through Osaka on Tuesday, although some domestic flights operated by Japan Airlines (JAL) (9201.T) and ANA's (9202.T) low-priced carrier Peach Aviation resumed on Friday, the carriers said.

Water and mud covers the road in Hokkaido Japan. Pic @TAKA_RR
Image Dozens are feared to be trapped. Pic @TAKA_RR

The landslide engulfs houses in Atsuma town, Hokkaido.

Japan's Meteorological Agency said the quake's epicenter was 40 kilometers (24 miles) deep. It registered a strong 6 on Japan's 7-point quake scale.

The central government set up a crisis management taskforce at the prime minister's Office. Saving people's lives is the government's utmost priority and we will deal with the disaster relief collectively. In Atsuma, a town of about 4,600 people, 26 were still unaccounted for.

The station's fuel rods are being cooled with emergency power supplied by diesel generators, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Thursday.

Japan's industry ministry added the Tomato-Atsuma plant, operated by Hokkaido Electric Power Co and located in the southern part of the island, has been damaged, without specifying the nature of the damage.

Farming and tourism are two of the island's biggest economic drivers, but there is some industry. "I felt it went sideways, not up-and-down, for about two to three minutes", said Kazuo Kibayashi, an official in hard-hit Abira.

The landslides ripped through some homes and buried others.

Moments after the initial quake, an aftershock measuring 5.3 rocked the area and dozens more aftershocks followed throughout the night and into the morning.

Three reactors at the Tomari nuclear plant were running on backup generators after they lost external power because of the island-wide blackouts, which knocked out power at all 2.9 million households, Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority said.

At least nine people were killed, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

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