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Japan Issues Tsunami Warnings After A 7.6 Magnitude Earthquake

Tsunami warnings were issued for Japan’s western coast after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Noto town in the Ishikawa Prefecture on New Year’s Day. It was followed by over 200 aftershocks, which the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned might continue. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck at 4:10 pm local time with a depth of 10 kilometers. There was a powerful aftershock of 6.2 magnitude southwest of Anamizu.  

The JMA issued a tsunami warning for the Noto Area, with waves expected to reach up to 5 meters. This was initially downgraded to 3 meters, but waves are now expected to reach 1 meter or less and are deemed “advisories.” Neighboring regions, including Ishikawa, Niigata, and Toyama prefectures, also received warnings. This marks the country’s first critical tsunami warning since 2011 when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake resulted in waves that killed around 18,000 people. 

The Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that tsunamis quickly reached the Japan Sea Coast. Wajima city, in the Ishikawa Prefecture, observed a wave over 1.2 meters long at 4:21 pm local time following the earthquake. 

NHK warns that the coast will be repeatedly hit with waves that could grow higher. There’s also a risk of landslides, blackouts, and collapsing buildings in areas experiencing strong tremors. One hundred thousand people have been urged to evacuate immediately to higher ground or the top of nearby buildings. Many have fled to shelters to spend the night. 

There was an influx of calls to emergency services, but Defence Minister Minoru Kihara said 10,000 military personnel were deployed to aid in rescue and recovery. Residents were given water, food, and blankets.

Looking at images from Toyama City in Ishikawa, this earthquake appears extreme and disastrous. It tore through major highways, and there were reports of shakes lasting well over a minute. Officials in Suzu City, Ishikawa, near the epicenter in Noto town, described how several buildings and power poles collapsed in the area, adding that people are now trapped under rubble.

Footage from NTV shows a property in Wajima, Ishikawa, engulfed in flames after a large fire broke out in the city and seemed to spread across nearby buildings. 

Hospitals received injured patients, but some doctors couldn’t travel to work due to damaged roads. The total death toll is currently low, with at least 55 people feared dead, according to local officials. This could increase in the coming days.

Several public services in Ishikawa have been halted, including at least five road closures and various flight cancellations due to cracks on the runway. Schools have been closed, but some are being converted into evacuation shelters. Japan Railways has suspended bullet trains between Tokyo and Ishikawa, while power plants have stopped operations. Mobile communications have also been disrupted. 

Hokuriku Electric Power says over 33,000 households in Ishikawa and Toyama have lost power due to the earthquake. 

In an emergency press conference, a Japanese government spokesperson said that the extent of damage was still unknown but warned the public to stay alert and prepare for further quakes. Japan’s Kansai Electric Power says it has detected no abnormalities at nuclear power plants in the area, but the situation is being monitored. 


(Updates expected)


Editor: Kaiyah Ellison

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Tags: Japan earthquake Ishikawa tsunami Japan Sea Coast warnings


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