Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Year : 1, Issue : 18
A powerful earthquake that hit Japan on New Year’s Day killed at least 55 people, with rescue teams struggling in freezing temperatures on Tuesday to reach coastal areas where many are feared trapped under possibly thousands of destroyed homes.
In Suzu, a town of just over 5,000 households near the quake’s epicentre, 90 per cent of houses may have been destroyed, according to its mayor Masuhiro Izumiya.
The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 struck on Monday afternoon.
Around 200 tremors have been detected since the quake first hit on Monday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which warned that more strong shocks could hit in coming days.
It accounts for about 20 per cent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater, and each year experiences up to 2,000 quakes that can be felt.
Authorities have confirmed 55 deaths, all in Ishikawa prefecture, making it Japan’s deadliest earthquake since 2016.
The Japanese government ordered about 100,000 people to evacuate their homes on Monday night, sending them to sports halls and school gymnasiums, commonly used as evacuation centres in emergencies.
But around 33,000 households remained without power in Ishikawa prefecture after a night when temperatures dropped below freezing. More than 100,000 homes have no water supply.
Whole towns were devastated and nearly 20,000 people were killed.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said no irregularities were found at nuclear plants along the Sea of Japan, including five active reactors at Kansai Electric Power’s (9503.T) Ohi and Takahama plants in Fukui Prefecture.
Hokuriku Electric’s Shika plant, the closest to the epicentre, has also been idle since 2011. The company said there had been power outages and oil leaks following Monday’s jolt but no radiation leakage.