Death Toll Rises In Japan

Intiqab Rawoof

January 2, 2024


The quake shook the Noto Peninsula in the central prefecture of Ishikawa on Monday afternoon, collapsing buildings, sparking fires and triggering tsunami alerts as far away as eastern Russia.

At least 57 people have been killed by the earthquake, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, citing officials from the Ishikawa prefecture.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency lifted all tsunami advisories along portions of the country’s western coast Tuesday, but more than 24 hours after the quake struck, there has been limited access to the northern part of the secluded Noto Peninsula.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters after a disaster emergency meeting Tuesday that a destroyed road had cut access to the area. The central city of Wajima, home to more than 27,000 people, appeared to be among the worst hit.

The coastal city is famous for its morning market and fine traditional lacquerware, but early surveys from the air on Tuesday revealed smoldering fires and large plumes of smoke engulfing streets of destroyed buildings.

On Tuesday the fire department in Wajima City reported that about 200 buildings were believed to have burned down on Asaichi Street, a popular tourist area in Wajima, in a fire that broke out Monday, NHK reported.

The department also said 25 buildings, including houses, had collapsed, and 14 structures may still have people trapped inside, according to NHK.

In addition around 500 people are stranded at Noto Airport after the terminal was damaged. They are being provided food and blankets, but nearby roads are damaged so they can’t get out, NHK reported Tuesday, adding that the airport will be closed until at least Thursday.

The earthquake and tsunami warnings prompted thousands of people to flee coastal areas. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 27,700 people in Ishikawa had taken shelter in 336 evacuation centers.