Strongest aftershock since Japan tsunami kills 2Posted: Updated:
(AP) - A strong aftershock ripped throughnortheastern Japan, killing two, injuring dozens and piling miseryon a region still buried under the rubble of last month'sdevastating tsunami.
The quake late Thursday was the strongest tremor since the March11 jumbo and did some damage, but it did not generate a tsunami andappeared to have spared the area's nuclear power plants. TheFukushima Dai-ichi complex - where workers have been franticallytrying to cool overheated reactors since they lost cooling systemslast month - reported no new abnormalities. Other facilitiesretained a connection to the grid or switched to diesel generatorsafter the 7.1-magnitude quake knocked out power to much of thearea.
Many people in the area have lived without water and electricityfor nearly a month, and the latest tremor sunk more homes intoblackness: In total, around 3.6 million households - about 60percent of residents in the area - were dark Friday, said SoutaNozu, a spokesman for Tohoku Electric Power Co., which servesnorthern Japan.
Five conventional plants in the area were out, and it was notclear when power would be restored, he said.
Matsuko Ito, who has been living in a shelter in the smallnortheastern city of Natori since the tsunami, said there's nogetting used to the terror of being awoken by shaking.
"I was almost as scared as much as last time," said the64-year-old while smoking a cigarette outside. "It's enough."
She said she started screaming when the quake struck around11:30 p.m.
"Something has changed," she said. "The world feels strangenow. Even the way the clouds move isn't right."
Thursday's quake initiated a tsunami warning of its own, but itwas later canceled. Two people were killed, fire departmentspokesman Junichi Sawada reported Friday. A 79-year-old man died ofshock and a woman in her 60s was killed when power was cut to heroxygen tank. More than 130 people were injured, according to thenational police agency.
The temblor's epicenter was in about the same location as theoriginal 9.0-magnitude tremor, off the eastern coast and about 40miles (65 kilometers) from Sendai, an industrial city on theeastern coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It wasstrong enough to shake buildings for about a minute as far away asTokyo, about 200 miles (330 kilometers) away.
At a Toyota dealership in Sendai, most of a two-story showwindow was shattered, and thick shards of glass were heaped infront of the building. Items fell off store shelves and a largeautomated teller machine crept across the floor at a FamilyMartconvenience store.
Police directed cars through intersections throughout the cityon Friday because traffic lights were out. Small electrical fireswere reported.
While the city is far enough inland that it largely escapedtsunami damage, people there lived without regular services forweeks. Within an hour of Thursday's quake, they rushed conveniencestores and cleared shelves of ice, water and instant noodles -items that were in short supply after the bigger quake.
The operator of the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi plantsaid there was no sign the aftershock had caused new problemsthere. Workers briefly retreated to a quake-resistant shelter inthe complex and suffered no injuries.