Disasters & Accidents

At least 100 injured after strong earthquake rattles northeast Japan

Tokyo, Feb 14 (efe-epa).- At least 100 people were injured after a magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck northeast Japan, local news agency Kyodo reported Sunday.

However, no serious injuries have been reported.

Most of those hurt were from the Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and sustained their injuries due to falling objects, landslides and fires.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located off the coast of the two prefectures near the area where a magnitude-9.0 temblor and subsequent tsunami killed more than 15,000 people in March 2011 in one the worst nuclear disasters.

No deaths due to the earthquake have been reported so far and no tsunami warning has been issued.

Saturday’s quake, which experts say “might have been an aftershock” of the catastrophic temblor in March 2011, has not affected the nuclear power plants in the area, none of which are currently operating.

“There have been no anomalies reported from any of the nuclear facilities,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said, referring to the Fukushima Dai-ichi and Fukushima Da-ini plants.

It did, however, leave almost a million homes in different parts of the Japanese east coast without power.

Power has already been restored in most of the affected areas except in some parts of Fukushima.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates both of the nuclear plants in Fukushima, said that “no abnormalities” had been detected in the wake of Saturday’s earthquake.

The government established a crisis center in the prime minister’s office and “remains in contact with all of the relevant authorities,” Suga told reporters.

“We will continue to respond, putting human lives first,” he said.

Some 200 people have been placed in evacuation centers in this prefecture, which together with Miyagi has recorded most of the damage.

Images from both regions broadcast by public broadcaster NHK showed collapsed walls, broken shop windows, sagging roofs and a highway covered by a landslide, among other damages.

The earthquake has also affected several high bullet train lines in Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita, where service remains suspended.

Japan sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the world’s most seismically active areas.

As it suffers earthquakes with relative frequency, its infrastructure, including skyscrapers and bridges, is specially designed to withstand strong tremors. EFE-EPA


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