According to CNN News, Japan faced a tragic start to 2024 with a devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake on New Year’s Day. The catastrophic event claimed at least four lives and caused extensive damage. The quake, which struck the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, led to building collapses, fires, and widespread tsunami warnings, significantly impacting lives and infrastructure. This article provides a comprehensive look at key aspects of the disaster, including initial effects, tsunami warnings, aftershocks, and ongoing rescue efforts.
The initial impact
The magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck at 4:10 p.m. local time at a depth of 10 kilometers on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. The United States Geological Survey confirmed these details, highlighting the significant depth and magnitude of the quake. Its force caused buildings to collapse, ignited fires, and triggered a series of tsunami warnings as far away as eastern Russia. These warnings prompted immediate evacuation orders along the west coast of Japan.
Tsunami Warnings and Aftermath
Following the quake, authorities issued tsunami warnings along the west coast of Japan. Waves of up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) were initially feared, but these warnings were later downgraded to advisories. In particular, the city of Wajima reported tsunami waves of about 1.2 meters (3.9 feet), according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
Ongoing aftershocks and stranded passengers
The United States Geological Survey reported at least 31 minor aftershocks in the region following the earthquake. These aftershocks, which are expected to continue for days or even months, have contributed to the ongoing hardship in the affected areas. In addition, more than 1,400 passengers were stranded on bullet trains for more than 10 hours after the earthquake, according to NHK.
Infrastructure damage and power outages
The earthquake caused extensive damage to the infrastructure of central Japan. It disrupted highways, caused building collapses and fires, and disrupted communications networks. According to Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa, approximately 33,000 households lost power, significantly affecting daily life and emergency response.
Rescue efforts and international support
In response to the disaster, Japan’s Defense Minister Minoru Kihara announced that some 8,500 military personnel were on standby to assist with emergency relief efforts. However, health officials in the city of Suzu reported challenges in treating the wounded as damaged roads prevented doctors from traveling. Internationally, the Biden administration expressed solidarity, stating that the United States “stands ready to provide whatever assistance is needed for the Japanese people.
Preparing for earthquake safety
In the aftermath of such a catastrophic event, it’s important for residents of earthquake-prone areas to understand safety protocols. During an earthquake, it’s important to drop, cover and hold on to protect yourself from falling debris. After an earthquake, it is important to stay informed about aftershocks, tsunami warnings, and evacuation orders. In addition, having an emergency supply kit and a family communication plan can greatly increase your chances of survival and reduce panic during these natural disasters.