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Japan Earthquake: Death Toll Rises to 126, More Than 200 Missing

The death toll from the powerful earthquake that struck western Japan on Monday has risen to 126, and more than 200 people are still missing, according to Japanese officials. The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.6, was the strongest to hit the country since the devastating 2011 quake and tsunami.

From the official x account of PMO

The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings and advisories along the western coast of Japan’s main island Honshu, and caused widespread damage to buildings, roads, and infrastructure. The quake also sparked fires and landslides in some areas, hampering the rescue and relief efforts.

The hardest-hit area was the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, where the quake’s epicenter was located. The city of Wajima reported tsunami waves of around 1.2 meters (3.9 feet), and the city of Noto remained under a major tsunami warning with waves of around 5 meters (16 feet) expected.

In Suzu, a town near the epicenter, 90 per cent of houses may have been destroyed, according to its mayor. In Anamizu, at least 10 people, including an eight-year-old child, were buried under rubble. In Wajima, a popular tourist spot, a historic marketplace was burned down by fire.

Thousands of army personnel, firefighters, and police officers from across the country have been dispatched to the affected area, but their operations have been hindered by badly damaged and blocked roads. Helicopters have been used to airlift the injured and the stranded, and to survey the extent of the damage.

About 30,000 people are living in relief camps, and about 60,000 people cannot go to the relief camps due to the lack of transportation and communication, according to government officials. Many rail services, ferries, and flights into the area have been suspended. Noto airport has closed due to damage to its runway, terminal, and access roads.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who visited the disaster zone on Tuesday, said the search and rescue of those impacted by the quake was a battle against time. He also expressed his condolences to the victims and their families, and vowed to provide all possible support to the recovery efforts.

Kishida also received a letter from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said he was deeply anguished and concerned to learn about the quake, and assured Kishida that India was ready to extend all possible help.

The earthquake was the strongest to hit Japan since the 2011 quake and tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Japan is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, and has experienced several major quakes in its history.

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