Japan Earthquake 2024: Major 7.6-Magnitude Quake Triggers Tsunami Alert, Thousands Evacuate

A major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 struck Japan on Monday, leading to widespread destruction and forcing thousands of people into evacuation centers for safety. The quake, which occurred at around 16:10 local time (07:10 GMT), has tragically resulted in the loss of four lives, as reported by Kyodo news agency. In addition, dozens have been injured, and an undetermined number of individuals are feared trapped under the debris of collapsed buildings across several towns.

Following the initial earthquake, about 60 aftershocks have been recorded. These aftershocks have added to the anxiety and challenges faced by the residents and emergency services.

The earthquake's impact was widespread, with reports of significant infrastructure damage. In Suzu City, Ishikawa prefecture, multiple houses and power poles have collapsed, as per NHK, Japan's national broadcaster. Major highways near the quake's epicenter were shut down, and over 36,000 households experienced power outages, according to Hokuriku Electric Power.

One of the most dramatic testimonies came from a snowboarder, Baldwin Chia, vacationing in Japan's Hakuba Alps. He described to Reuters how his hotel room shook violently during the quake. Although concerned about potential avalanches, he reported no incidents of such. Chia remarked on the surreal experience of being in an earthquake, a common occurrence in Japan but not often personally experienced by visitors.

Another individual, Andy Clark, a British national in the coastal city of Toyama, shared his harrowing experience. He recounted the moment of the quake, where he had to cling to a sea wall to remain upright and eventually sought refuge on a school roof. The aftershocks made it difficult for him to sleep, echoing the sentiments of many others in the affected areas.

Jeffrey Hall, a lecturer based in Yokohama, far from the quake's epicenter, also felt the tremors. He described the earthquake as "very, very serious," highlighting the widespread impact of the seismic event across Japan.

The initial quake triggered a major tsunami warning for the coastal Noto area in Ishikawa, near the epicenter. Authorities warned of potential waves reaching up to 5 meters (16 feet). However, the actual waves observed on the Sea of Japan coastline were relatively small, not exceeding a meter in height. The tsunami warning was eventually downgraded to an advisory.

Japan, known for its seismic activity due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, has one of the world's most advanced tsunami warning systems. Despite this, the nation still faces significant challenges during such natural disasters.

In response to the disaster, international support has been forthcoming. The United States, through President Joe Biden, expressed readiness to provide assistance, emphasizing the close ties between the two countries. The United Kingdom, under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, also conveyed its readiness to support Japan in this time of need.

While the full extent of the damage is still being assessed, the earthquake has undoubtedly left a significant mark on the region. Recovery efforts are underway, and the resilience of the Japanese people is once again being put to the test in the face of natural adversity.

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