28 killed in Ecuador dis­as­ter

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - WORLD -

were also on the way.

In Mashiki, where peo­ple were trapped be­neath the rub­ble for hours, an un­con­scious 93-yearold woman, Yu­miko Ya­mauchi, was dragged out from the de­bris of her home Satur­day and taken by am­bu­lance to a hospi­tal. Her son-in-law Tat­suhiko Sakata said she had re­fused to move to shel­ter with him af­ter the first quake Thurs­day.

“When I came to see her last night, I was ask­ing her: ‘Mother? I’m here! Do you re­mem­ber me? Do you re­mem­ber my face?’ She replied with a huge smile filled with joy. A kind of smile that I would never for­get. And that was the last I saw of her,” Sakata said.

Ja­panese TV showed a col­lapsed stu­dent dor­mi­tory at Aso city’s Tokai Univer­sity that was orig­i­nally two floors, but now looked like a sin­gle-storey build­ing. A wit­ness said he heard a cry for help from the rub­ble. Two stu­dents were re­ported to have died there.

The area has been rocked by af­ter­shocks. The Ja­pan Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Agency said the mag­ni­tude-7.3 quake early Satur­day may have been the main one, with the one from Thurs­day night a pre­cur­sor.

Tanaka, the man spend­ing the night in his car with oth­ers in Ozu, had spent Fri­day start­ing to clean up the mess from the first earth­quake, hop­ing the af­ter­shocks would grad­u­ally sub­side.

“Then came the big one, which was so pow­er­ful I couldn’t even stand on my feet. It was hor­ri­fy­ing,” he said, adding when he left, his house was tilted at an an­gle.

David Roth­ery, pro­fes­sor of plan­e­tary geo­sciences at the Open Univer­sity in Bri­tain, said Satur­day’s quake was 30 times more pow­er­ful than the one Thurs­day.

“It is un­usual but not un­prece­dented for a larger and more dam­ag­ing earth­quake to fol­low what was taken to be the main event,” he said.

Roth­ery noted that in March 2011, a mag­ni­tude-7.2 earth­quake in north­ern Ja­pan was fol­lowed two days later by the mag­ni­tude-9.0 quake that caused a dev­as­tat­ing tsunami that killed more than 18,000 peo­ple.

Mount Aso, near the vil­lage of Mi­nami­aso, erupted Satur­day for the first time in a month, send­ing smoke ris­ing about 100 me­tres into the air, but no dam­age was re­ported. It was not clear whether there was a link be­tween the quakes and the erup­tion. The 1,592-me­tre-high moun­tain is about a 90-miniute drive from the epi­cen­tre.

The sec­ond earth­quake se­ri­ously dam­aged the his­toric Aso Shrine, a pic­turesque com­plex near the vol­cano. A num­ber of build­ings with curved tiled roofs were flat­tened on the ground like lop­sided fans. A tow­er­ing gate, known as the “cherry blos­som gate,” col­lapsed. QUITO, Ecuador — A pow­er­ful, 7.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake shook Ecuador’s cen­tral coast Satur­day, killing at least 28 peo­ple and spread­ing panic as far away as the An­dean cap­i­tal of Quito as it col­lapsed homes and rat­tled build­ings.

The U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey said the shal­low quake, the strong­est in decades to hit Ecuador, was cen­tred 27 kilo­me­tres south-south­east of Muisne, in a sparsely pop­u­lated area of fish­ing ports that’s pop­u­lar with tourists.

Vice-Pres­i­dent Jorge Glas said in a tele­vised ad­dress there were ini­tial re­ports of 28 dead in the cities of Manta, Por­toviejo and Guayaquil.

Among those killed was the driver of a car crushed by an over­pass that buck­led in Guayaquil, the city’s most pop­u­lous city, lo­cated hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres from the epi­cen­tre.

On so­cial me­dia, res­i­dents shared photos of homes col­lapsed, the roof of a shop­ping cen­tre com­ing apart and su­per­mar­ket shelves shak­ing vi­o­lently.

RYOSUKE UE­MATSU / KY­ODO NEWS

A po­lice of­fi­cer stands guard in front of a house de­stroyed by an earth­quake in Mashiki, Ku­mamoto pre­fec­ture, south­ern Ja­pan Satur­day.

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