Confirmed Dead in Western Japan Earthquake

Stefan Fairweather said he lurched all over the place

STEFAN FAIRWEATHER SUPPLIED Stefan Fairweather said he lurched all over the place"like a drunken sailor as noodles fell around him in Osaka

At least three people have died and at least 200 others have been injured after an quake struck the northern Osaka region in Japan on Monday morning.

Local police said the child was a nine-year-old girl who died in the city of Takatsuki, north of Osaka city, with media reporting she was trapped when a wall collapsed on her at school following the 5.3-magnitude quake.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said more than 300 people were injured in total, but many of them suffered minor injuries.

People gather to receive clean drinking water delivered from a special vehicle after an quake hit Takatsuki city, Osaka, western Japan, Monday, June 18, 2018. Commuters had to walk in dark tunnels to get to their next stop. The quake also grounded flights in and out of Osaka and paralyzed traffic and commuter trains most of the day.

About 850 people took refuge at some 400 shelters in Osaka Prefecture, with many concrete block walls and other structures damaged by the quake.

Shunsuke Kosaka, an Osaka government official, told AFP an evacuation advisory had been issued to 12 households as it was forecast to rain in the region, possibly triggering landslides.

Several people were trapped in elevators and roads were cracked with broken pipes spilling water.

A crack is filled with water on a road after water pipes were broken following an quake in Takatsuki city, Osaka, western Japan, Monday, June 18, 2018. "It felt like strong sideways shaking and lasted about five seconds, and I stayed there until it stopped". Wall cracks and other minor damage were found at several schools.

Osaka prefecture, which includes the city and surrounding areas, has a population of 8.8 million.

All trains and subways across Osaka city were halted, and the bullet train that links Osaka to Tokyo was stopped. Two men in their 80s also died, news reports said. City officials didn't have details of the victim, but NHK and Kyodo News reported that an 81-year-old woman was found dead underneath a wardrobe that fell on her at her home in Takatsuki.

Many homes and buildings, including a major hospital, were temporarily without power, though electricity was restored at most places by midafternoon.

The quake struck in one of Japan's main manufacturing heartlands, home to companies including Panasonic, Nintendo and Keyence, and plants across the area were halted as firms assessed the damage. At a shrine in Kyoto, stone lanterns broke and collapsed to the ground. Parts of northern Japan are still recovering from the 9.0 quake and tsunami in 2011 that killed more than 18,000 people.

Japanese soldiers joined rescue and relief operations in parts of Osaka, bringing special vehicles to deliver clean drinking water.

Officials warn that rain and landslides could still cause additional damage in areas destabilized by the quake.

The natural disaster reminded numerous magnitude 7.3 Hanshin-Kobe quake in 1995 that killed more than 6000 people in the region. "I thought it was a nightmare because I was so confused", she said.

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