Amid the devastation of a series of earthquakes and after-shocks that struck one of Japan’s four main islands on Thursday morning, a small miracle stunned rescuers and raised hopes that more survivors would be found.

An 8-month-old baby girl was pulled from the rubble and reunited with her parents after rescue teams dug in the debris of her collapsed home for six hours – finding her frightened, but conscious and unscratched.

More than 90,000 were forced out of their homes to seek shelter when the initial 6.5 quake hit the city of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, which lies 550 miles southwest of Tokyo, and it is unclear how many more people could still be trapped in the city of nearly one-million where buildings sustained damage, highways crumbled and a 500-bed city hospital in Kumamoto was nearly destroyed; a bullet train was derailed, but was not carrying passengers at the time.

Since then, a series of after-shocks have brought down buildings already damaged by the quake, ignited fires and kept residents on edge as relief agencies and the military respond to the crisis with food, water and other emergency supplies.

Heavy rain and high winds in the area have caused mudslides, and created difficult conditions for survivors and rescuers alike, with authorities scrambling to restore services as 200,000 homes were without electricity and 400,000 without water.

The death toll is at 100, but rising, with an estimate of 2,000 injured as rescue efforts continue.

Uppermost in the minds of many was the condition of the island’s nuclear power plant, the only facility of its kind that has remained in operation in Japan since the meltdown of the Fukushima reactor after the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Officials are reporting that no problems have been detected, as of yet, at the Kyushu facility following this earthquake and rash of aftershocks, and meteorologists have not detected signs of an impending tsunami.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office announced that his planned trip to the area to view the devastation had been postponed after a second major quake shook the area.



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