Wagswoofs – Japan is currently facing challenges in determining the full extent of damage caused by the earthquake that hit its west coast. This devastating event has resulted in the loss of at least a dozen lives, destruction of buildings and major roads, and widespread power outages, leaving many homes without electricity in freezing temperatures.
On Monday afternoon, a powerful earthquake measuring a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 struck, causing residents in coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground. Tsunami waves, reaching approximately 1 meter (3.3 ft) in height, impacted Japan’s western seaboard.
Several thousand army personnel, firefighters, and police officers from different parts of the country have been sent to the hardest-hit region in the remote Noto peninsula, located in Ishikawa prefecture.
Rescue operations have faced significant obstacles as damaged and blocked roads have impeded progress. In addition, one of the local airports had to shut down due to cracks on its runway.
Several rail services, ferries, and flights to the area have also been suspended.
“The race against time to search and rescue those affected by the earthquake was emphasized by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during an emergency disaster meeting on Tuesday.”
Rescuers are facing significant challenges in accessing the northern tip of the Noto peninsula, as the roads have been severely damaged. Kishida mentioned that helicopter surveys have revealed numerous fires and extensive destruction to buildings and infrastructure.
According to local media reports, the number of confirmed deaths has exceeded a dozen at this point. The majority of these fatalities occurred in the town of Wajima, which was severely impacted by the earthquake. One particularly devastating incident that occurred on Monday was a massive blaze that broke out in the town.
According to the national police agency, six individuals have been reported as deceased, while the fire and disaster management agency has stated that 19 people are currently in a state of cardiac arrest.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, more than 140 tremors have been detected since the earthquake initially struck on Monday.
The agency has issued a warning that there could be more powerful shocks in the coming days.
Nobuko Sugimori, a resident of Nanao city in Ishikawa, expressed that she had never encountered a quake like this before.
“I attempted to grasp onto the TV set in a desperate effort to prevent it from tumbling over. However, I found myself swaying uncontrollably from one side to another,” Sugimori expressed, speaking from her residence. The front wall of her home displayed a significant crack, while the interior was scattered with displaced furniture.
Residents had another close call when a collapsed building crushed a car across the street.
Fujiko Ueno, a 73-year-old woman, shared her experience of the earthquake that struck during her New Year celebration. She mentioned that there were nearly 20 people in her house at the time, but thankfully, everyone managed to escape unharmed.
“It happened so quickly,” she exclaimed, standing amidst the wreckage and mud that seeped from the cracked surface of the road. A powerful earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck Ishikawa prefecture in central Japan on Monday.”
President Joe Biden expressed his commitment to supporting Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake, stating that the United States stands ready to offer any assistance that may be needed.
“We express our heartfelt sympathy to the Japanese people during this challenging time, as the United States and Japan share a strong and enduring friendship,” he stated.
More than 97,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes by the Japanese government on Monday night. These individuals were directed to sports halls and school gymnasiums, which are commonly used as evacuation centers during emergencies.
On Tuesday, authorities lifted tsunami warnings, allowing many people to safely return to their homes.
According to Hokuriku Electric Power’s website, approximately 33,000 households in Ishikawa prefecture were still without power early on Tuesday morning. Moreover, NHK reported that most areas in the northern Noto peninsula were also experiencing a lack of water supply.
The New Year appearance of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has been canceled by the Imperial Household Agency due to the recent disaster. Additionally, Kishida’s planned visit to Ise Shrine on Thursday has been postponed. This comes after a powerful magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit Ishikawa prefecture in central Japan on Monday.
Japan’s nuclear industry is currently facing a delicate situation as a result of the recent earthquake. Since the catastrophic events of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima, there has been significant opposition from local communities. This opposition stems from the devastating consequences that were experienced, with entire towns being destroyed.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority has confirmed that there were no irregularities detected at the nuclear plants located along the Sea of Japan. This includes the Ohi and Takahama plants in Fukui Prefecture, which are currently operating five active reactors.
Hokuriku Electric’s Shika plant, which is the closest to the epicenter, had already shut down its two reactors for regular inspections before the earthquake. The plant reported no impact from the quake, according to the agency.
Kokusai Electric, the chip materials maker, is currently conducting further investigations after discovering some damage at its factory in Toyama. This comes just before the scheduled resumption of operations on Thursday.