The death toll has risen to 64 in the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa as of Wednesday noon, after a series of powerful earthquakes hit the area in central Japan and the vicinity, with aftershocks and more damage reports coming in.
In a series of aftershocks experienced by the region, a magnitude of 5.4 on Wednesday morning and one with a magnitude of 4.6 on Tuesday evening struck off the Noto Peninsula, both at shallow depths and measuring upper 5 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale which peaks at 7., according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
The full extent of the situation remains unknown as rubble and severed roads still prevent search and rescue operations on Wednesday, two days after the magnitude-7.6 quake on New Year’s Day caused extensive structural damage and fires in Wajima city in Ishikawa.
Ishikawa prefectural authorities have asked the central government to send Self-Defense Forces personnel for disaster relief, and the armed forces were set to use helicopters to deliver supplies to cut-off areas, according to local media reports.
Reports of damages and several cases of people being buried alive or trapped under collapsed homes in the quake-hit areas kept coming in, according to municipal authorities.
A series of strong earthquakes, with a major one of preliminary 7.6 magnitude, occurred on Monday at a shallow depth on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture. The JMA has officially named it the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake.
Centered around 30 km east-northeast of Wajima, the New Year’s Day quake registered a maximum intensity of 7, which would make it impossible for people to stand.
Such a temblor was last recorded in 2018 in Hokkaido, the weather agency said.
The JMA has lifted all tsunami advisories along the Sea of Japan following the quake, but weather officials warned that strong aftershocks may occur in the week, especially over the next two to three days.
Since Monday, Japan has been hit by at least 155 quakes.