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Aftershocks Rattle Cleanup in Japan

March 26, 2001|Associated Press

KURE, Japan — Aftershocks rattled southwestern Japan on Sunday as residents began picking up the pieces from a powerful earthquake that killed two people, injured scores and damaged infrastructure.

The magnitude 6.4 temblor struck the region Saturday afternoon, collapsing buildings, snapping power lines and severing water mains. A magnitude 4.7 aftershock Sunday night was strong enough to momentarily disrupt bullet train service. No new damage was reported, however, and local utility companies continued work restoring electricity and water.

Hiroshima, 430 miles southwest of Tokyo, was the hardest hit of seven southwestern prefectures that recorded heavy seismic activity Saturday. Twenty-one people remained hospitalized in Hiroshima prefecture.

In Kure, a town of old-fashioned wooden houses and narrow, winding streets about 12 miles south of Hiroshima, residents cleared away rubble to let cars pass and lined up outside relief centers for water and vinyl sheets to patch broken roofs. About 10,000 homes remained without water Sunday.

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