Dozens of buildings have collapsed in many areas – Undetermined number of people trapped in the rubble – Tsunami of one meter hit the western coast
Two people have been killed and thousands evacuated and an undetermined number of people trapped after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck off Japan’s west coast on New Year’s Day.
According to reports on the state news network, the death toll is expected to rise in the coming hours as rescue crews work non-stop into the night to free people from collapsed buildings.
According to international reports, dozens of buildings have collapsed in several cities, trapping an unknown number of people under the rubble. The 7.6-magnitude quake struck at about 4:10 p.m. local time on Monday, prompting tsunami warnings.
About 60 aftershocks have been recorded since the initial earthquake, while there is always the risk of a large aftershock of more than 7 on the Richter scale.
Jeffrey Hall, a lecturer at Kanda University, said he felt the shaking for about two minutes, despite being in Yokohama, on the other side of Japan’s main island. Speaking to the BBC, he stressed that the earthquake was a “very, very serious thing” for Japan.
Massive earthquake hits western Japan, triggering tsunami warnings.
使生、お大事に。 余震は怖い。 パキスタンからのますととと祈り
Japanese earthquake pic.twitter.com/01IoGtOX6k
— SadiaSattar (@SadiaSattarTST) January 1, 2024
A snowboarder vacationing in Japan’s Hakuba Alps said his entire hotel room shook. Speaking to Reuters, Baldwin Chia said he was concerned about avalanches but had not received reports of any.
Joseph Tame, a Briton living in the country, told the BBC he felt the quake from his home just north of Tokyo – 320 miles (514km) from the epicenter. “The house we’re in is about 40 years old and it was shaking a little bit,” he said.
Officials in the city of Suzu in Ishikawa Prefecture said several homes and power plants collapsed, according to national broadcaster NHK.
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Major highways were closed near the epicenter and more than 36,000 households were without power, according to utility provider Hokuriku Electric Power.
According to reports, several hundred meters of the main expressway between the cities of Toyama and Kanazawa had been torn down by a landslide.
Initially, a major tsunami warning was issued for the coastal area of Noto in Ishikawa – near the epicenter – with authorities saying waves could reach 5 meters high.
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Local reports said it was Japan’s first such warning since 2011, when a powerful earthquake ripped through the northeast and sent waves up to 40 meters high.
However, the waves that hit the Sea of Japan coastline in Ishikawa on Monday were no more than one meter high. The main warning was later downgraded to a simple warning and then an “advisory,” NHK reported. Nearby Niigata and Toyama prefectures were also on alert.
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