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30 confirmed dead in Noto quake as more damage reports come in

(Kyodo News) -- At least 30 people have been confirmed dead in the powerful earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula and surrounding areas in central Japan on New Year’s Day as more reports of damage came in and rescuers raced to find survivors on Tuesday.

An aerial view of Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Tuesday morning,shows damages to the city following the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on Monday.    --Photo The Yomiuri Shimbun

The magnitude-7.6 quake caused extensive structural damage and fires in the city of Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture, as continuing aftershocks and rubble on roads hampered rescue operations.
The deaths included seven victims at Wajima Municipal Hospital, city officials said.
Tsunami warnings covering extensive areas along the Sea of Japan were lifted Tuesday morning, after the highest wave of around 1.2 meters reached Wajima Port on Monday night following the 4:10 pm quake.
In Wajima, a seven-story building toppled over sideways while a central area known for its morning market was gutted by a large blaze that broke out Monday.
Fires engulfed over 200 structures in the central Wajima area but have been bought under control, Ishikawa prefectural officials said.
There have been 14 reports of people being trapped under rubble in the city, other officials said.
The quake has also caused injuries and structural damage in Niigata, Toyama, Fukui and Gifu prefectures.
“It is extremely difficult for vehicles to enter northern areas of the Noto Peninsula,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference, adding the central government has been coordinating shipment of relief supplies using ships.
About 1,000 Self-Defense Force personnel are engaged in rescue and relief operations, Kishida said.
According to West Japan Railway Co., some 1,400 shinkansen bullet train passengers were stranded for around 11 hours as the company halted operation of four trains on the Hokuriku line between Toyama and Kanazawa stations to inspect tracks and other facilities following the earthquake.
The quake was centreed around 30 kilometres east-northeast of Wajima with a provisional depth of 16 km, registering a maximum 7 on the country’s seismic intensity scale, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
A level-7 quake is described as making it impossible for people to remain standing. Such a temblor was last recorded in 2018 in Hokkaido, the weather agency said.
The country’s geodetic survey system recorded significant land movement, with a reference station in Wajima moving 1.3 meters westward, the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan said.
Foreign governments including those of the United States, Canada and Italy offered support.
In Washington, President Joe Biden said in a statement released after the quake that the United States will provide “any necessary assistance for the Japanese people.”

(Latest Update January 3, 2024)

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