Hours after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s western coast, officials said that at least 48 people have been killed,
Rescue efforts are ongoing as services are still struggling to reach the worst-hit area in the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture due to badly damaged and blocked roads.
More than 90 tremors have been detected since the quake first hit on Monday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which has warned more strong shocks could hit in the coming days.
The agency has lifted all tsunami advisories for areas along the Sea of Japan, as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, ‘The search and rescue of those impacted by the quake is a battle against time.’
Japan was hit by a major earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 hit north-central Japan on Monday afternoon.
Soon after, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning along the coastal regions of Ishikawa, Niigata and Toyama prefectures.
Waves more than 1 metre high hit the coast of Wajima City in Ishikawa Prefecture, NHK reported.
NHK TV also warned torrents of water could reach as high as 5 metres (16.5 feet) and urged people to flee to high land or the top of a nearby building as quickly as possible.
Authorities initiated rescue and relief operations and urged people to stay vigilant for aftershocks. Seismologists warned that aftershocks could persist for months.
The Japanese government swiftly dispatched 1,000 military personnel for rescue and recovery efforts.
The earthquake triggered tsunami-like waves along the western coast, leading to the issuance of warnings for several prefectures. High waves battered the country’s west coast and neighboring South Korea, Reuters reported quoting Ishikawa Prefectural authorities.
The tremor’s aftermath was devastating, as houses were destroyed, fires broke out, and people were trapped under debris.
36,000 household lost power, as authorities anticipate more potent quakes in the coming days.
With damaged buildings, power outages, fires, and fissures in roads, especially in Ishikawa Prefecture, nearly 1,400 passengers found themselves stranded inside immobile high-speed trains.
Tsunami alerts were triggered as far as the eastern cities of Russia, even as international support has been extended.
The full extent of the damage is yet to be ascertained, but many are feared trapped under the rubble, as Japan works closely with local agencies to evaluate the devastation and fears of an increasing death toll.
Japan is a nation prone to earthquakes, with a massive 9.0-magnitude undersea quake off northeastern Japan in March 2011, which triggered a tsunami that left around 18,500 people dead or missing.
In March 2022, a 7.4-magnitude quake off the coast of Fukushima shook large areas of eastern Japan, killing three people.
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