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Photos From Social Media Show Aftermath of Quake in Kumamoto, Japan

A “Shindo 7″ (magnitude 6.5) earthquake struck the western Japanese city of Kumamoto on Thursday, April 14. At least nine people were killed and 33,000 evacuated from their homes. Nearly 1,000 people have been reported as injured.

In terms of intensity, this was the largest earthquake experienced by Japan since the one that struck Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region in March 2011, touching off a massive tsunami that left thousands dead.

Japan’s “shindo scale” measures the degree of shaking, or intensity. In other parts of the world, earthquakes are measured according to released energy, or magnitude.

Aftershocks continued throughout the night. A camera crew sent out to record damage to a castle wall in the center of the city of Kumamoto, recorded an aftershock live on television. The video’s title translates as “23,000 evacuated after Shindo 7 earthquake strikes Kumamoto.”

The earthquake was felt in much of western Japan and was centered on Mashiki, a suburban township to the east of Kumamoto City.

It ruptured gas lines, causing several fires (most Japanese homes rely on propane gas for cooking and heating water; propane is stored outside the home in pressured cylinders).

Following the earthquake and its aftershocks, social media was filled with images of the quake.

Older homes appeared to be hard hit.

Due to continuing aftershocks and fears of more fires from ruptured gas lines, thousands of people took shelter in open spaces such as school playing fields.

Some locals posted images of the damage to social media.

Cars have toppled from the automated parking garage.

Kumamoto Castle, a ferroconcrete facsimile built in 1960, suffered extensive damage to stone walls line its moat.

Some people pointed out that the relatively large and intense Kumamoto earthquake occurred close to three nuclear power installations in Saga Prefecture (just to the north), Kagoshima (just to the south), and Ehime (about 300 kilometers to the east on the island of Shikoku).

And as often happens on social media in times of crisis, at least one hoax went viral before being debunked.

This article by Nevin Thompson originally appeared on Global Voices.

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