More than 20 dead in Japan's recent earthquake

More than 20 dead in Japan's recent earthquake

Shafaq News / Rescue teams in Japan on Tuesday struggled to reach isolated areas hit by a powerful earthquake on New Year's Day, with reports of more than 20 people dead in a disaster that toppled buildings and knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes.

The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 struck in the middle of the afternoon on Monday, prompting residents in some coastal areas to flee to higher ground as tsunami waves hit Japan's west coast, sweeping some cars and houses into the sea.

Thousands of army personnel, firefighters and police officers from across the country have been dispatched to the worst-hit area in the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture.

However, rescue efforts have been hindered by badly damaged and blocked roads and authorities say they are finding it difficult to assess the full extent of the fallout.

Many rail services, ferries and flights into the area have been suspended. Noto airport has closed due to damage to its runway, terminal and access roads, with 500 people stranded inside cars in its parking lot.


"The search and rescue of those impacted by the quake is a battle against time," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during an emergency disaster meeting on Tuesday.

Kishida said rescuers were finding it very difficult to reach the northern tip of the Noto peninsula due to wrecked roads, and that helicopter surveys had discovered many fires and widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure.

More than 20 people have already died and many more are trapped in collapsed buildings, several news outlets reported citing local authorities.

Japan's fire and disaster management agency has only confirmed six deaths but said it had received reports of many more victims with no vital signs. Firefighters have been battling blazes in several cities and freeing people from quake wreckage, it said.

More than 140 tremors have been detected since the quake first hit on Monday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The agency has warned more strong shocks could hit in the coming days.


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