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10 Taiwanese stranded in earthquake-hit Japanese village of Aso

10 Taiwanese stranded in earthquake-hit Japanese village of Aso

There are 10 Taiwanese nationals stranded in the southern part of the Aso area in Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan's Kyushu, including seven university students, Taiwan's representative office in Fukuoka said Sunday.

The university students were working as interns at a hot spring hotel in Aso, an official at the liaison office told CNA by telephone, noting that they have made contact with the students and will send a car to pick them up the next day.

The traffic of most access roads to Aso have been severed due to landslides caused by multiple earthquakes since Thursday, but the Taiwan office said it has found that there is still one mountain road open to traffic into the quake-hit town.

After devising a plan to drive there, a vehicle will be dispatched to take the students out of Aso, the office said.

As for the other three Taiwanese stranded in Aso, the office said it only knows they are independent travelers staying at local B&Bs.

A magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck near the city of Kumamoto on Japan's Kyushu Island early Saturday, two days after a magnitude-6.2 temblor hit the same region.

The two earthquakes have left more than 40 people dead and over 2,000 others injured, according to local media reports. Also, among the structures devastated by the quakes is the 200-meter-long arch Aso Bridge that had spanned a deep gorge. It collapsed Saturday after the second earthquake struck before dawn.

Because of the damage, vehicular traffic to southern Aso has since been severed. Now, southern Aso is "in an isolated condition," Taiwan's liaison officials stationed in Fukuoko said.

In Kumamoto City, a resident from Taiwan told CNA Saturday evening that "there is almost no food left to buy in Kumamoto now."

Another Taiwanese expatriate living in Kumamoto City said that the hardest-hit area from the earthquakes is about a one hour drive from the downtown district.

Because there have been constant after-shocks, she told CNA that she and her husband and three children have to seek safety at the campus of an elementary school where they have set up camp on the open playground.

She also said that the shortage of foods and other daily commodities is serious. Whenever a supermarket gets new stock, it will quickly sell out, she said.

NHK, Japan's national public broadcasting organization, reported that due to the lack of food, some people in the earthquake-hit area had to wait in line for two hours to buy a single onigiri (rice rapped in nori).

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Saturday that the government has prepared around 900,000 meals, which will be distributed to 90,000 people at 681 shelters around Kumamoto City and Prefecture.

Taro Kono, the Japanese minister in charge of administrative reform and disaster management, said all-out efforts have been taken to ship supplements to the quake-affected area in the hope that people there can all purchase food and water in local supermarkets and malls.

Updated : 2022-05-18 17:01 GMT+08:00