In a devastating turn of events, the death toll has surged to 55 in Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, following a series of powerful earthquakes that rattled the region. The situation has been compounded by aftershocks and ongoing reports of additional damage.
Adding to the woes, a tragic incident unfolded at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport when a Japan Coast Guard (JCG) aircraft collided with a passenger plane while taxiing on the runway. Five of the six JCG crew members lost their lives, emphasizing the severity of the challenges faced in the wake of the disasters.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported a 4.6-magnitude earthquake off the Noto Peninsula, measuring upper 5 on the seismic intensity scale. The affected region witnessed extensive evacuations, with 57,360 people seeking refuge in 955 locations across Ishikawa and Niigata prefectures.
Reports indicate disrupted water supply in 16 cities and towns in the quake-hit Noto region. Approximately 1,000 Self-Defense Force officers have been deployed for rescue operations, facing challenges due to road obstructions hindering relief efforts.
The JMA highlighted that the earthquake, reaching a maximum seismic intensity of 7, recorded a significant three-component vector sum peak ground acceleration of 28,266 gals. This figure, comparable to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, underscores the intensity of the shaking and potential damage.
Injuries have been reported in multiple prefectures, including Ishikawa, Niigata, Fukui, Toyama, and Gifu. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida acknowledged the difficulties in relief efforts due to obstructed roads and expressed consideration for alternative transportation methods, including the use of ships.
The series of earthquakes, notably a preliminary 7.6-magnitude quake, officially termed the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake, has prompted weather officials to issue warnings of potential strong aftershocks in the coming days. Since Monday, Japan has experienced a staggering 155 quakes, further intensifying the challenges faced by the affected regions.