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The U.S. military has offered air assistance to Japan to get supplies to those displaced by a pair of powerful earthquakes that shook the southwestern part of the nation and left at least 41 dead, Japan’s prime minister said Sunday.
"We have received word that it is now possible to receive aid by air from the U.S. military,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a news conference Sunday morning local time. "We are very grateful for the offer and want to coordinate our details transport needs and make it happen as soon as possible."
According to local authorities, 41 people died in the two earthquakes. Japanese government spokesman said Sunday that that number hasn’t changed.
Nine people were killed in the magnitude-6.5 quake that struck Thursday night, and 32 died in the second quake Saturday morning.
The second quake occurred at 1:25 a.m. Saturday in the city of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, at a depth of 25 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Thursday night, a magnitude-6.5 quake shook the same area.
National broadcaster NHK reported that more than 2,000 people were being treated for injuries in hospitals, and over 160,000 people were in shelters. Damage from the quakes has disrupted water to 400,000 homes, the broadcaster said. And around 240,000 people were told to leave areas in danger of floods and mudslides after rains soaked Kumamoto Prefecture, NHK said.
There were 410 tremors between Thursday's earthquake and 10 a.m. Sunday local time, said Gen Aoki, director of the Japan Meteorological Agency earthquake and monitoring division.
"It’s hard to say how long these tremors will continue, since this seismic activity is different from regular ones," Aoki said. "It is possible that there will continue to be strong tremors and we urge that people take safety measures and be vigilant."