Japan faces flooding as it struggles to assess extend of damage


Japan on Tuesday (January 2) struggled to assess the extent of damage from an earthquake that struck its west coast, killing at least a dozen people, wrecking buildings and major roads, and knocking out power to swathes of homes in freezing temperatures.

At Nanao city in Ishikawa, one of the worst-hit areas, a car was seen crushed under a collapsed building. Items inside a convenience store were strewn on the ground, as broken window glass lay outside.

Thousands of army personnel, firefighters and police officers from across the country have been dispatched to the relatively remote Noto peninsula, of which Nanao is the largest city. However, rescue efforts have been hindered by badly damaged and blocked roads and one of the area’s airports has been forced to close due to runway cracks.

The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 struck in the middle of the afternoon on Monday (January 1), prompting residents in some coastal areas to flee to higher ground as tsunami waves about 1 metre (3.3 ft) hit Japan’s western seaboard.

In another update on Tuesday, a subway station in Kanazawa, in the Ishikawa Prefecture, was flooded after the earthquake.

An eyewitness captured puddles on the station floor and filmed the moment people crouched on a train platform while signs above them shook during the quake.

The 7.6 magnitude earthquake triggered warnings for residents to evacuate, knocking out power to thousands of homes and disrupting flights and rail services to the affected region.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings for coastal prefectures, marking the first major warnings since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan.

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