At least 30 killed as Japan assesses damage from massive quake

Authorities in Japan on Tuesday rushed to assess the damage the day after a powerful earthquake left at least 30 dead, led to landslides and the collapse of multiple buildings, sparked a large-scale fire in a popular tourist area, and triggered a tsunami warning for the length of the nation’s west coast, News.Az reports citing The Japan Times. 

Continuing aftershocks, rubble on roadways and damaged roads were hampering rescue operations amid a race to find survivors.

Footage taken by the broadcaster NHK on Tuesday morning showed a seven-story building toppled over sideways and smoke rising in a central area of Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, known for its morning market, where a large blaze broke out Monday.

Fires engulfed over 200 structures in the central Wajima area but have been bought under control, Ishikawa officials said.

Ishikawa Gov. Hiroshi Hase wrote on X that roads have been cut in widespread areas by landslides or cracking, while in the port of Suzu, "multiple" vessels had capsized.

The 7.6 magnitude earthquake, which at its center was rated the highest-level 7 on Japan’s shindo intensity scale, struck Ishikawa Prefecture’s Noto Peninsula on Monday afternoon, as the nation was marking New Year’s Day — when families generally gather at home and many shops are closed.

The quake was centered around 30 kilometers east-northeast of Wajima with a provisional depth of 16 km.

The quake triggered a rare major tsunami warning and forecasts that waves of up to 5 meters could strike, but by 10 a.m. Tuesday, all warnings and advisories had been lifted. The highest tsunami recorded was said to be over 1.2 meters at Wajima Port in Ishikawa.

The Meteorological Agency said on Tuesday that while waves are not likely to grow larger, sea level changes were still being observed, encouraging people in areas that had been under tsunami warnings to refrain from marine-based work.

While fears of a major tsunami — reminiscent of the deadly waves that struck Japan’s northeast coast following the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster in March 2011 — did not materialize, the quake itself appears to have caused widespread damage, with the death toll likely to rise as rescuers moved through the disaster area.

Some of the deaths confirmed so far appear to have been caused by people being trapped or buried in collapsed buildings. Structures are reported to have collapsed in Niigata, Toyama, Fukui and Gifu prefectures, leading to multiple injuries.


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