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UK 'ready to support Japan after earthquakes'

Britain "stands ready" to support Japan in any way it can after it was hit by a second devastating earthquake, David Cameron has said.

Rescue missions are under way in the Kumamoto region on the south-western island of Kyushu after a magnitude-7.3 tremor that left at least 22 dead.

It follow a magnitude-6.5 earthquake in Kyushu on Thursday that killed at least ten.

More than 1,500 were injured into the two disasters and hundreds of thousands of people have been left without electricity or water.

Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said "daytime today is the big test" for rescue efforts as he warned that heavy rain and strong winds could now cause mudslides in the affected areas.

Mr Cameron said the UK was following the situation closely.

The Prime Minister said: "I am deeply saddened by the earthquake in Kumamoto. This second powerful earthquake, following so quickly after the first earthquake on Thursday, has brought further terrible devastation and loss of life. Our thoughts are with all those affected.

"The full extent of the damage will only become clear over the next few days. The UK is following the situation closely and stands ready to support the Japanese response in any way we can."

Parts of the historic Aso Shrine, a popular tourist spot that is more than 1,700 years old, have been damaged.

A towering gate, known as the "cherry blossom gate" because of its grandeur when the trees bloom in spring, collapsed after being totally destroyed.

Eleanor Bley Griffiths was on holiday in Japan with her boyfriend when both the quakes struck.

The 23-year-old from London said: "I was in Kyoto for the quake which I think they are calling the pre-quake - that was unexpected. It was a sensation of the floor moving, windows rattling, curtains swaying. There was no forewarning."

She then travelled to Hiroshima when the second quake struck and said: "We were just in a hotel room ...The floor was shaking, we felt a bit unsteady and everything started to rattle. The windows rattled but it is designed to be like that."

She said an announcement went out through the hotel address system "and through the streets on loudspeakers, and we were told to get under a table.

"It went on for quite a while, and there were quite a lot of aftershocks."

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