Friday, May 13 2016 03:33 EEST
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Progress has been made in restoring infrastructure after Kumamoto earthquakes
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Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a statement due to the progress in restoring infrastructure after earthquakes including a magnitude 7.0 mainshock which struck on April 16, 2016 beneath Kumamoto City of Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu Region, Japan.

The two earthquakes killed at least 49 people and injured about 3,000 others in total. Severe damage occurred in Kumamoto and Ōita Prefectures, with numerous structures collapsing and catching fire. More than 44,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to the disaster.

Prime Minister's Office of Japan shared on Facebook:

'Message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:

Almost a month has now passed since the Kumamoto earthquakes struck. While progress has been made in restoring infrastructure such as the reopening of the Oita Expressway this afternoon, a large number of people still have no choice but to live uncomfortable and worry-filled lives under evacuation, as aftershocks continue to strike and temperatures rise. Although people have already begun to move into publicly-owned housing and other options and construction of temporary housing is also underway, we must make every possible effort to have all those unable to return to their homes move into new accommodations where they can enjoy peace of mind as soon as possible. We are providing thorough support for the affected local authorities through the mobilization of public officials dispatched from the national government and close to 1,500 public officials dispatched from local governments all around the country in support. Their work includes officially recognizing the damage to collapsed houses and issuing disaster victim certificates.

We must also safeguard the livelihoods and employment of those affected by the disaster. I hope that business operators who were forced to temporarily suspend operations or reduce their business operations because of the earthquake can keep hope alive for the people working there until the day comes that they can resume their operations to previous levels. Today, we raised the subsidy rate of the subsidy for employment adjustment to four-fifths for small- and medium-sized enterprises, up from two-thirds, and to two-thirds for large companies, up from one-half.'

As a result of the tremors, the entire city of Kumamoto city was left without water. All residents of Nishihara Village in Kumamoto Prefecture were evacuated over fears that a nearby dam could collapse.

Government officials estimated more than 1,000 buildings had been seriously damaged, with 90 completely destroyed.

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