Japan Removes Tsunami Warnings but Highlights ‘Widespread’ Earthquake Damage Warning

Japan, Jan 02 : At least 48 people have been reported dead after a massive earthquake hit the coast of central Japan on New Year’s Day with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warning that damage was “widespread” and casualties were likely to rise.
The magnitude 7.6 quake struck on Monday afternoon near the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, triggering the country’s first major tsunami warning since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that had about 18,500 people declared dead or missing in the northeast.
Speaking on Tuesday, Kishida said “extensive damage” had been confirmed with the quake bringing down buildings and triggering fires.
“The search and rescue of those impacted by the quake is a battle against time,” the prime minister said.
Moreover, Kishida said rescuers were finding it very difficult to access the northern tip of the Noto Peninsula where helicopter surveys had discovered many fires and widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure.
There are around 120 cases of people awaiting rescue, his government spokesperson later said.
Authorities said rescue efforts had been hindered by damaged roads and that they were finding it difficult to assess the full extent of the fallout.
However, the initial tsunami warning, which was later downgraded, was lifted on Tuesday morning.
Smoke billowing from Wajima after a large fire near the port was extinguished.
In Suzu, a coastal town of just over 5,000 households near the quake’s epicentre, as many as 1,000 houses might have been destroyed, according to its mayor Masuhiro Izumiya.

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