The epicenter of the earthquake occurred on the Noto Peninsula, 320 kilometers as the crow flies from Tokyo.
The Peninsula of Noto and its port towns of Wajima and Suzu now resemble war zones after the New Year's earthquake that shook mainly that region at 4:10 p.m., reaching a magnitude of 7.5 according to the American Institute of Geophysics ( USGS) and 7.6 according to the JMA.
Several hundred aftershocks – some also strong – have occurred since the earthquake, and the tsunami that followed on Monday with waves of more than a meter swept away many boats, which ran aground on the quays, or the seaside roads.
Thousands of buildings on the Noto peninsula were completely or partially destroyed by the disaster and may still be destroyed by aftershocks, making rescue operations difficult. At each alert, rescuers must urgently evacuate the rubble.
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All safe and sound, the passengers of flight JAL516 speak of a “miracle”
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Regional authorities report 73 dead and nearly 400 injured, a toll that is expected to rise.
Masuhiro Izumiya, the mayor of Suzu , said that almost no homes were still standing in part of this small town at the tip of the Noto peninsula, according to television channel TBS. The situation is catastrophic.
Japan is one of the countries with the most frequent earthquakes in the world.
More than 33,400 people have taken refuge in accommodation centers set up in different villages, according to authorities, and nearly 30,000 homes are still without electricity in Ishikawa department.
More than 110,000 homes in Ishikawa and two other departments are also deprived of running water, the Japanese government said on Wednesday.
I am here [in a shelter] because I no longer have electricity, gas or water at home. And since there are always aftershocks, my house could collapse at any moment, Yuko Okuda, 30, a resident of Anamizu, another small town on the southern peninsula, told AFP. Noto.
With an earthquake of magnitude 7.5, you should expect aftershocks for several months, geologist Robin Lacassin, research director at CNRS, told AFP on Tuesday.
The Ishikawa Department has asked Japanese people to stop calling loved ones affected by the earthquake, to preserve their phone batteries for essential calls.
Shinkansen, Japan's high-speed trains, have resumed service in central Japan since Tuesday after some 2,400 passengers spent hours – some 24 hours – stuck on the tracks or in stations.
The region's highways have also reopened, making it easier to restock food and essential goods, although road conditions are slowing deliveries. /p>
In Wajima, the damage caused by the earthquakes is significant.
More than 40 hours have passed since the disaster. We have many testimonies from people who need to be rescued, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday after a new crisis meeting.
This is a race against time and we continue to do our best to save lives, our priority, he recalled.
Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan is one of the countries with the most frequent earthquakes in the world.
The Japanese archipelago is haunted by the memory of the terrible magnitude 9 earthquake followed by a giant tsunami in March 2011 on its northeastern coasts, a disaster which left some 20,000 dead and disappeared.
This disaster also led to the Fukushima nuclear accident, the worst since that of Chernobyl in 1986.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">This time, the series of earthquakes caused only minor damage to the nuclear power plants installed along the coast, according to their operators.