Massive Earthquake Hit Japan
January 3, 2024 / By Zunair Tahir / World News
When the ground started to tremble, Minae Akiyama had flown to Ishikawa prefecture from southern Japan to spend New Year’s with her family.
Even now, thinking about it still gives me the shakes. She spoke to that from a shelter in the city of Nanao, where she and her family are currently residing in the wake of Monday’s catastrophic 7.5 magnitude earthquake. “My heart was pounding, my mind went blank, we just scrambled,” she said.
During the earthquake, Akiyama recalled hiding under a table and hoping for survival before gathering necessities and escaping outside. Following the incident, pictures taken at her mother’s home reveal tipped-over cupboards and closets, as well as food and kitchenware strewn on the floor.
Although the family was not hurt, the earthquake still feels like it happened two days later as they wait for help at the shelter and experience numerous aftershocks that pierce the earth. Some of the cement pillars of the structure are visible to be surrounded by rubble, even at the shelter.
“It feels like the building is trembling right now,” Akiyama remarked. “My body trembles whenever there is an aftershock because I think about the main earthquake.”
At least 62 people were killed in Monday’s earthquake, which occurred on the first day of the new year, according to the prefecture’s official website. According to the report, officials are still looking for those who may be buried under debris or in isolated regions, and an unknown number of people are still unaccounted for.
Yoshimasa Hayashi, the chief cabinet secretary, had earlier on Tuesday stated that 120 people were still in need of rescue.
Situated on the more rural, western part of central Japan, the Noto Peninsula felt the tremors, which resulted in fallen buildings, fires, and tsunami alarms. Images from all over the area revealed charred buildings, broken roadways, and debris where homes previously stood in addition to whole multistory buildings that had collapsed on their sides.
A few people were reminded of the 2011 Tōhoku 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, which led to a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant, by the earthquake. The majority of the deaths and missing were caused by tsunami waves, leaving over 22,000 people dead or missing. The aftermath is still being felt today.
The death toll and levels of destruction from Monday’s earthquake look to be significantly lower than those caused by the 2011 tragedy in a nation that has long been accustomed to earthquakes and where construction rules, especially in more remote places, are scrupulously adhered to. However, the depth of the damage is still being analyzed.
When the 2011 earthquake struck, Kouki Takahashi, now 28, was a middle school student in Tokyo. He currently resides in Nanao. That was a long time ago, and Tokyo was shaken, but hundreds of kilometers separated the epicenter from the city.
For Takahashi, it was much closer this time. “This felt worse than any massive earthquake I have ever experienced,” he remarked.
However, he claimed that the Monday earthquake event made him think about Tōhoku once more. It felt comparable, he remarked. “It was a similar earthquake back then (in 2011), starting with light shaking and building in intensity over time.”
When the tremors started on Monday, he was at home having a bath. He claimed to have been completely nude when he rushed outside to get into his automobile, citing the swaying of telephone poles and buildings.
He stated that, considering the regular earthquakes and the military helicopters and cars going by, the friend’s parking lot felt like the safest place to be. He spent Monday night sleeping in his car there.
His flat is still standing, but the walls are cracked. According to him, some of his acquaintances had worse luck and completely lost their homes.
Similar to the shelter Akiyama and her family are currently residing in, many such survivors are now receiving minimal aid.
There’s not much more than a roof; when went on Tuesday night, there was no heating, so people slept on mats on the ground covered in heavy blankets. They wore their jackets, hats, and gloves to remain warm in the 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) midnight thermometer.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces, which are now coordinating search and rescue activities with local governments, police, and fire departments, had to wait in line outside to obtain water since there was no flowing water. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made this announcement on Wednesday.