On April 14th, 2016, a massive magnitude-7 earthquake hit Kumamoto Prefecture. After numerous strong aftershocks, an even bigger magnitude-7.3 quake hit the same region just two days later on April 16th.

42 people were killed, over 1,000 injured, and 7 are still reported missing.

The earthquakes have been the largest to hit Japan since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, and the whole of Kyushu region is still experiencing strong aftershocks, and coping with the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

But in midst of all the tragedy, one story has shined a little bit of hopeful light on the ongoing rescue efforts in the region.

When the first earthquake shook Kumamoto on the 14th, the house of a family living in the hardest-hit town of Mashiki was completely destroyed. The 2nd floor had collapsed onto the 1st, where an 8-month-old baby had just been put to sleep by the mother.

The mother and rest of the family were able to escape, but the baby remained trapped inside the wreckage.

A rescue squad made up of 50 firefighters, police officers, and the Self-Defense Forces gathered at the house to save the baby.

‘We can hear the baby!,’ people shouted. We narrowed down the area where we thought the baby was trapped and made a hole. We attempted to go in, but strong aftershocks continued. We had to leave the house and reconsider our strategy, which made the rescue all the more difficult. But just before 4AM on the 15th, we found the baby through a narrow space in the wreckage. The crowed cheered, and the rescuers briefly showed expressions of relief during the extremely tense experience.

Translated from Sankei WEST

Miraculously, an empty space had been created around the baby when the 2nd floor of the house collapsed onto the 1st, protecting the baby from harm.

Thanks to the unyielding efforts of the rescuers and the support of fellow survivors, another family was successfully reunited. We can only hope that more family members will find their way back to each other, and will continue to stay strong throughout this tragic disaster.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.