04:57 GMT02 December 2020
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    The Japanese city of Kumamoto has opened prison doors to people who were left homeless by two deadly earthquakes, officials said Tuesday.

    The Kumamoto prison, which was built in 1972 and houses 491 inmates, is going to provide emergency shelter for nearby residents who cannot return to their homes as the aftershocks continue to rattle southern Japan.

    Tens of thousands were forced to flee their homes when two major earthquakes and about 600 smaller tremors rocked Kumamoto Prefecture in southern Japan late Thursday.

    A total of 47 people died and more than 1,000 were injured in Japan’s worst humanitarian disaster in five years.

    People who were forced to abandon their damaged or destroyed homes had to sleep in temporary accommodation, huddle in makeshift shelters or even sleep in their cars.
    According to local media there have been major problems in delivering food and other essentials as well as increasing health concerns.

    Reportedly more than 95,000 people were still in evacuation shelters, AFP reported a spokeswoman for the Kumamoto prefectural government as saying.

    The ministry decided to start using prison facilities as evacuation centers after a huge undersea quake in March 2011 killed around 18,500 people when it sent a devastating tsunami into the northeast coast, initiating a nuclear meltdown disaster.


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    Earthquake, humanitarian catastrophe, victims, evacuation, prison, AFP, Japan
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