SUZUKA (AP) – A series of strong earthquakes that struck western Japan left at least 62 people dead Wednesday as rescue workers struggled to free people who may have been trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. did.
Two days later, aftershocks continued to shake Ishikawa Prefecture and nearby areas. Earthquake of magnitude 7.6 It hit the area. The first 72 hours after a disaster are considered critical to saving lives.
Water, electricity, and mobile phone services remained disrupted in some areas. Residents expressed sadness at the uncertain future.
“It’s not just a mess. The wall has collapsed and the room next door is visible. I don’t think I can live here anymore,” said Miki Kobayashi, a resident of Ishikawa Prefecture, as she cleaned around her house. Ta.
The house was also damaged in the 2007 earthquake, she said.
According to Ishikawa Prefectural authorities, 29 people died in Wajima City and 22 people died in Suzu City. Dozens of people, including those from neighboring prefectures, were seriously injured.
Although the number of casualties continued to rise gradually, some of the damage appeared to be limited by prompt public warnings broadcasted and by telephone, and prompt responses from the public and authorities.
Toshitaka Katada, a professor at the University of Tokyo who specializes in disasters, said people were prepared because the region has been hit by earthquakes in recent years. They had evacuation plans and emergency supplies in stock.
“There is probably no one on earth more prepared for disasters than the Japanese,” he told The Associated Press.
Japan is frequently struck by earthquakes because it is located along the Pacific Rim of Volcanoes, an arc of volcanoes and faults in the Pacific Basin.
Katata warned that the situation remains unstable and unpredictable. The March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami were preceded by other earthquakes.
“This is not over yet,” Katata said.
Predictions made by scientists have repeatedly been proven wrong: 2016 Kumamoto Southwest Earthquakean area that was previously considered relatively earthquake-free.
“It is extremely dangerous to have too much confidence in the power of science. We are dealing with nature,” Katata said.
Aerial footage from Japanese media showed widespread damage in the worst-hit areas, including landslides that buried roads, boats being thrown into the sea, and fires that reduced the entire city of Wajima to ashes.
The Japanese military dispatched 1,000 soldiers to the disaster area to participate in relief efforts. It is unclear how many more victims are in the rubble.
Nuclear regulators said several nuclear power plants in the region were operating normally. 2011 earthquake and tsunami Melted down 3 nuclear reactors A large amount of radiation is released at a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan.
The Japan Meteorological Agency on Monday issued a major tsunami warning for Ishikawa Prefecture and a low-level tsunami warning or advisory for the rest of Honshu’s west coast and northern Hokkaido.
The alert was lowered several hours later, and as of early Tuesday morning all tsunami warnings had been lifted. Waves over 1 meter (3 feet) in some places hit.
Still, a half-sunken ship floated in the bay where the tsunami hit, leaving the coastline covered in mud.
People evacuated from their homes flocked to auditoriums, schools and community centers. Shinkansen services in the area were suspended, but most have been restored. Some sections of the expressway were closed to traffic.
Forecasters predicted rain, raising concerns about buildings and infrastructure collapsing.
The area is dotted with tourist spots and designated cultural properties famous for traditional crafts such as lacquerware.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also joined President Joe Biden and other world leaders in expressing support for the Japanese people.
“Our hearts go out to our friends in Japan,” he said. “We will provide, and have continued to provide, any assistance that our Japanese friends require.”
Kageyama reported from Tokyo. Videographer Richard Colombo contributed from Suzu and reporter Rod McGuirk from Sydney.
Yuri Kageyama appears in X https://twitter.com/yurikageyama