Japan lifts tsunami alert after quake, but advises evacuees not to return

The head of seismic information planning at the Japan Meteorological Agency said there would be new waves of significant height in the affected areas and people should stay on high ground until further notice.

The Japan Meteorological Agency lowered the highest level of the tsunami alert on Monday evening, hours after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook the country’s west coast and left at least two dead and several injured and trapped. by the collapse of buildings.

The “major tsunami alert” issued by Ishikawa Prefecture was upgraded to a “tsunami alert”, although authorities urged people not to return home to at-risk areas due to the risk of further outbreaks. earthquakes in the region, and therefore maintained the evacuation recommendation. , reported Japanese public television NHK.

Local residents rest at an elementary school serving as an evacuation shelter after the earthquake struck the Kanazawa region, Japan, January 1, 2024, in this photo released by Kyodo. Photo: Reuters

The head of seismic information planning at the Japan Meteorological Agency, Toshihiro Shimoyama, appeared at a news conference Monday afternoon to warn that there would be new waves of significant height in the affected areas and therefore people should stay on the ground. until further notice.

There was also a risk of further landslides which could cause landslides and building collapses, so Shimoyama urged people to remain vigilant.

Earthquakes could be repeated over the next week, particularly over the next two or three days. And at least 25 aftershocks have already been detected, all lower in intensity than the original.

The earthquake, with a hypocenter around ten kilometers deep, was the most intense in a chain of 20 earthquakes recorded Monday near the coast of Ishikawa and the neighboring prefecture of Niigata.

A fire burns after an earthquake in a residential area in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, January 1, 2024, in this photo released by Kyodo. Photo: Reuters

The earthquake caused significant material damage, the collapse of certain buildings in which people may have been trapped and a fire. Separately, two people were confirmed dead in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture, who suffered cardiopulmonary arrest, according to police.

Hospitals in Ishikawa, Niigata, Fukui, Toyama and Gifu prefectures suffered injuries, most from the impact of objects displaced during the quake. Some of them have broken bones.

The town of Kurobe was hardest hit by the earthquake. At least a dozen buildings collapsed and at least six people were trapped under the rubble, according to Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa, the first senior government official to appear before the media.

In addition, firefighters also battled a large fire that broke out in the city and spread to the Kawaicho district, with no information on casualties so far, according to the Disaster Prevention Division in a statement. press release reported by ‘Asahi Shimbun’.

Firefighters in the town of Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, received more than 50 reports of collapsing houses and also responded to reports of people trapped in buildings.

In this photo published by Kyodo, shoppers crouch as an earthquake hits the area at a supermarket in Toyama, Japan, January 1, 2024. Photo: Reuters

Authorities in the city of Nomi confirmed that around 100 displaced people were housed at the city hall headquarters, and in Yamagata Prefecture, around 2,000 evacuees were housed in municipal facilities.

Nuclear power plant without damage

The Japanese government found that some 30,000 homes were without power across the prefecture, but the region’s nuclear power plants do not appear to have been affected, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa, present at a conference Press.

Hokuriku Electric Power Company said there were about 33,000 households without electricity in Ishikawa Prefecture, including 10,000 in Wajima, 7,300 in Noto and 7,100 in Suzu.

There is only evidence of an electrical transformer fire at the Shiga nuclear power plant in Shiga Prefecture, but the flames have been extinguished and the plant itself is unaffected.

Operator Kansai Electric Power Company has not confirmed damage to the Ohi and Takahama nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture, two of the most vulnerable on the west coast in the event of a possible earthquake, it said. the Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station is also not affected for the moment, according to a press release from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported by the Asahi Shimbun.

Residents of the country’s capital have reported shaking in buildings following the earthquake, but at the moment there are no reports of casualties in the metropolis. Russia issued wave alerts for Sakhalin Island and Vladivostok, but did not issue evacuation orders. South Korea, and more specifically its coastal province of Gangwon, was under a light tsunami alert.

Source: Latercera

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