A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, central Japan, causing widespread damage and claiming the lives of at least six people while injuring dozens more. The earthquake, which occurred on New Year’s Day, set off tsunami warnings in the area and led to the evacuation of over 97,000 people from their homes as a precaution.
The quake, which led to more than 140 aftershocks, caused significant infrastructure damage, including collapsed roads and buildings, as well as widespread power outages affecting 45,000 homes. While initial tsunami warnings indicated potential waves of up to 10 feet, these warnings were later downgraded and ultimately canceled.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasized the urgent nature of the search and rescue efforts, referring to them as a “battle against time,” and assured that the government was focused on providing disaster response and prioritizing the safety of affected individuals. The earthquake resulted in casualties and injuries in multiple prefectures, with reports of trapped residents and significant property damage.
The quake’s impact was felt as far as central Tokyo, where buildings shook, and it marked the first time Japan issued a major tsunami warning since the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Strong aftershocks and the risk of continued tremors prompted concerns, although the country’s advanced tsunami warning system remained in place to protect against further potential threats.
Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Kishida both canceled planned events in light of the disaster, while support poured in from around the world, including from U.S. President Joe Biden, who expressed readiness to provide assistance. Transportation services and commercial flights were suspended, and the affected areas remained on high alert for potential dangers associated with the earthquake.
In conclusion, the earthquake in central Japan on New Year’s Day resulted in significant loss of life, injuries, and widespread damage, prompting urgent rescue and recovery efforts as the region grappled with the aftermath of the disaster. Despite the challenges posed by aftershocks and continued risk, emergency response teams and authorities remained dedicated to addressing the immediate and long-term impact of the seismic event.