TOKYO, 15th April, 2016 (WAM) — At least nine people have died and 860 are injured after a powerful earthquake jolted southwestern Japan on Thursday night, local police said Friday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency announced that a magnitude-6.5 quake hit at 9:26 p.m. and originated at a relatively shallow depth of around 11 kilometres in Kumamoto Prefecture and registered a maximum 7 on the Japanese scale in the town of Mashiki in the prefecture, reported official state news agency KYODO.

Among the injured, 53 were seriously hurt, while up to 44,400 people were taking shelter at about 500 sites in the prefecture, the prefectural government said.