Earthquake off western coast of Japan leaves at least 50 dead

The 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit the western coast of central Japan on Monday has left at least 50 dead, while rescue efforts and the search for people trapped under the rubble of buildings continue. collapsed, according to local official sources.

The city of Wajima, the most punished

The city of Wajima, about 500 kilometers from Tokyo and located very close to the epicenter of the earthquake, is one of the hardest hit by the earthquake, which caused the collapse of about 25 buildings, many of them private homes, in this town of about 27,000 inhabitants.

It is believed that people may be trapped under the remains of 14 of these buildings, NHK added, citing the local fire department, which is carrying out rescue operations.

Among the deceased are 19 victims in the city of Wajima, 20 in Suzu, 5 in Nanao, 2 in Anamizu, 1 in Hakui and 1 in Shiga, all of them in Ishikawa prefecture, which has suffered significant structural damage and fires.

Rescue efforts continue

In each of these cities, dozens of people were taken to the hospital and rescue efforts are still continuing, so the death toll is expected to increase in the coming hours.

Footage taken by public broadcaster NHK on Tuesday morning showed a seven-story building collapsed and smoke rising in a central area of ​​Wajima known for its morning market.

A fire broke out in this prefecture that has affected more than 200 structures and persists in some areas, although the chances of it spreading further are slim, according to officials.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gave a press conference this morning in which he said that he himself will be in charge of disaster management: “I will be the general director, I will mobilize the Self-Defense Forces, the Japanese Coast Guard , to the firefighters and the police.”

The president assured that it is being extremely difficult for vehicles to access the areas in the north of the Noto peninsula and that the Government has already sent supplies by ship.

The leader of the Japanese Executive asked the residents of the affected areas “to act safely”, since “the risk of house collapses and landslides is increasing in the points where the tremors were strong.”

According to the latest figures this afternoon, some 32,000 people have been evacuated in the prefectures of Ishikawa, Toyama and other nearby areas, while local air and train services remain suspended.

Around 1,000 Japanese Self-Defense Forces personnel are participating in rescue operations and at 9:30 a.m. local time today (0.30 GMT), more than 46,000 people remain evacuated in Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures.

The number of homes without electricity, mainly in Ishikawa, is currently estimated at tens of thousands.

Fortunately, the rises in sea level detected in different Japanese locations, and even in neighboring South Korea, did not cause significant damage.

Yoon sends condolences to Kishida for the victims of the earthquake in Japan

South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol sent a message of condolence today to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for the human losses caused by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit the western coast of central Japan this Monday. .

In his message, Yoon offered his condolences to the victims and their families and expressed his solidarity with Japan in the face of the damage caused by the earthquake, according to the South Korean Presidential Office.

Yoon also offered assistance from South Korea for recovery tasks in the affected area and hoped that the inhabitants of these areas could return to their normal lives as soon as possible.

Japan rules out damage to its nuclear plants after the earthquake

Japanese government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi said today that there have been no reports of direct damage to the country’s nuclear power plants after the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that hit its western coast on Monday and was one of the most serious. of recent years by leaving at least 48 dead.

“We have not received any reports of direct damage from the earthquake or tsunami at the Hokuriku Electric Power nuclear power plant in the city of Shiga, which is closed, and there have been no reports of anomalies at other nuclear power plants,” Hayashi said. today at a press conference.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga