Powerful earthquakes kill at least 57, destroy hundreds of homes, buildings in Japan

Japan is struggling with a devastating series of major earthquakes that have claimed at least 57 lives, injured dozens and caused widespread destruction. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, addressing an emergency disaster meeting, emphasized the urgency of rescuing those affected, especially those trapped under debris.

The earthquakes, with the largest measuring 7.6 in magnitude, struck off the west coast of Japan on Monday, even shaking buildings in Tokyo, more than 180 miles away. The epicenter was located on the Noto Peninsula, jutting out into the Sea of ​​Japan, where most casualties and injuries were reported, according to media reports that revealed grim scenes of bodies pulled from the ruins of collapsed buildings, with many still missing on Tuesday.

The meteorological agency warned of possible aftershocks in the coming days.

Coastal residents, despite tsunami warnings lifted, have been advised against returning home, The Guardian reportedadding that public broadcaster NHK-TV initially warned of possible high tsunami waves, leading to widespread evacuations to safer buildings such as sports halls and schools.

Reuters reported that a 3,000-strong rescue team is working in the earthquake areas. Officials warned Tuesday that more aftershocks and earthquakes could occur in the coming days.

The Noto peninsula, the most affected area, saw significant challenges in rescue efforts due to severely damaged infrastructure. More than 1,000 military personnel have been deployed, but their operations are hampered by blocked roads and a local airport closure caused by cracks on the runway.

In the city of Wajima, fires raged until Tuesday morning, leaving more than 100 homes and buildings in ruins, the newspaper said, citing the Kyodo news agency as reporting at least 15 deaths in this city alone. The Asachi-dori street area, known for its wooden buildings and popularity among tourists, was among the worst hit, although specific details of casualties and damage remain unclear.

Suzu city mayor Masuhiro Izumiya described the situation as catastrophic, with up to 1,000 houses potentially destroyed, according to Reuters.

In the city of Nanao, many residents have either disappeared or are believed to have been captured. Transportation in the region, including bullet trains and flights, was suspended on Tuesday. Major highways are closed, and water supplies are interrupted in some areas due to burst pipes. Mobile phone networks have also suffered damage but are gradually being restored.

Prime Minister Kishida, in a disaster relief outfit, highlighted the challenges in accessing the northern peninsula of Noto.

About 120 people are awaiting rescue, and many rail services and flights into the area have been suspended. More than 500 people were stranded at Noto airport, now closed due to damage.

US President Joe Biden expressed solidarity, offering necessary help to Japan.

This earthquake is the deadliest in Japan since the Kumamoto earthquake in 2016.

Despite no reported radiation spikes or anomalies at more than 20 offshore nuclear reactors, the disaster is raising concerns, especially after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi plant meltdown.

The AP quoted Toshitaka Katada, a disaster expert, as praising the Japanese for their preparedness and warning that the situation remains unpredictable.

Source: www.christianpost.com

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