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12 Lives Lost, Mass Evacuations Follow 155 Earthquakes Rattling Japan on New Year's Day

By Ritwik Ghosh,Kolkata India

Japan earthquake worst natural disaster news

Amidst the commencement of 2024, Japan found itself besieged by a relentless onslaught of seismic activities, registering a staggering 155 earthquakes. In a tragic turn of events, a dozen lives succumbed to the destructive tremors, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. The complexity of the situation is further exacerbated by the evacuation of thousands and the incapacitation of vital infrastructures, including major highways, rendering them non-operational.

The seismic saga began with a formidable 7.6 magnitude quake, succeeded by several others, eclipsing a magnitude of 6, as reported by the Japan Meteorological Office. Tsunami warnings, accompanied by waves reaching a height of 5 feet, compounded the predicament. Notably, the aftermath has left nearly 33,000 households devoid of electricity, compounding the challenges faced by rescue personnel and medics in affected regions.

Wajima town, in proximity to the epicenter, bore witness to the gravest consequences, reporting eight casualties, a fact corroborated by Japan’s national police agency. The intensity of the calamity prompted the deployment of numerous army personnel to the Noto Peninsula, the epicenter of the disaster. However, rescue endeavors encountered hindrances due to the impairment of roads and the closure of an airport runway due to structural damage.

Japan’s Transport Ministry reported a halt in four expressways, two high-speed rail services, 34 local train lines, and 16 ferry lines. Furthermore, 38 flights were canceled, underscoring the widespread disruptions caused by the seismic upheaval. The Japan Meteorological Office forewarns of potential intensification in seismic activity in the coming days, compounding the challenges faced by the nation.

The extent of the devastation unfolded through poignant visuals of collapsed buildings, sunken boats, and charred homes, leaving locals grappling with freezing temperatures in the absence of power. A conflagration erupted in Wajima, consuming a row of houses, amplifying the urgency of rescue operations. The overwhelmed Wajima Fire Department attested to escalating rescue requests and damage reports, signaling the severity of the crisis.

Tens of thousands received evacuation orders, with around 1,000 seeking refuge at a military base. An estimated 97,000 individuals across nine prefectures were urged to evacuate, finding shelter in sports halls and school gymnasiums. Meanwhile, Ishikawa prefecture reported almost 33,000 households enduring power outages, with a scarcity of water supply in numerous regions of the northern Noto peninsula.

In a global response to the crisis, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea issued tsunami warnings. The United States, expressing solidarity, pledged assistance to Japan, as President Joe Biden emphasized the enduring friendship between the two nations. The historical context of Japan’s susceptibility to earthquakes, punctuated by stringent regulations and routine emergency drills, underscores the gravity of the situation.

As Japan grapples with the aftermath of this seismic onslaught, the world watches, cognizant of the nation’s resilience and the shared commitment to overcoming such adversities.

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