Sun, 16 May 2021

TOKYO, April 14 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture on Wednesday marked the fifth anniversary of two sizable earthquakes that claimed the lives of 276 people.

Five years since a magnitude 6.5 quake shook the southwestern region on April 14, 2016, and the area was rocked by a magnitude 7.3 quake two days later, hundreds of people remain displaced in the affected regions, with many of them still forced to live in makeshift accommodation.

The ceremony, scaled down for the second successive year to just 34 attendees due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was attended by Kumamoto Governor Ikuo Kabashima, who said the prefecture's support for the needy would continue to be unwavering.

"We will continue our support until the last person completes rehabilitation. It is also our important responsibility to pass on the experiences of the quakes and contribute to disaster reduction and prevention in Japan and abroad," Kabashima was quoted by local media as saying in his speech.

Meanwhile, by way of a message posted on his office's website, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the government would continue to make all-out efforts for the ongoing reconstruction efforts.

"The government will continue to make utmost efforts for the reconstruction of disaster-hit regions by staying close to people affected by the quakes," Suga said.

The two powerful temblors that affected areas in Kumamoto as well as its neighboring prefectures, caused 43,000 homes to be completely or partially destroyed, with the number of those displayed by the quakes peaking at 47,000 people.

In Kumamoto, according to local officials, 418 people were still without permanent homes as of March this year.

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