The 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit the western coast of central Japan on Monday left at least 50 dead. The search for people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings continued yesterday and it was feared that the number of fatalities would increase.
The city of Wajima, about 500 kilometers from Tokyo and located very close to the epicenter, was 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. . Yesterday firefighters were searching for people who could be trapped under the remains of 14 of these buildings.
About 32,000 people were evacuated in Ishikawa, Toyama prefectures and other nearby areas.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said yesterday that vehicle access to areas in the northern Noto Peninsula was extremely difficult and that the government had sent supplies by ship. Kishida noted that it was “increasing the risk of house collapses and landslides at points where the tremors were strong.”
Some 32,000 people were evacuated in Ishikawa, Toyama prefectures and other nearby areas, while local air and train services remained suspended. The number of homes without electricity, mainly in Ishikawa, was put in the 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.
Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi declared that there had been no reports of direct damage to the country’s nuclear power plants, which is its most vulnerable point to the impact of earthquakes.