On Monday, Japan issued tsunami alerts and initiated evacuations in seaside areas after a series of powerful earthquakes struck its western coastline. The Japan Meteorological Agency reported these earthquakes, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, off the coast of Ishikawa and nearby prefectures shortly after 4 p.m. local time.
The Cause of Tsunamis
Tsunamis are typically caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, often due to underwater earthquakes. In this case, the earthquakes off the coast of Ishikawa triggered the tsunami alerts.
Swift Evacuations Underway
Following the seismic activity, the agency issued a major tsunami warning for Ishikawa and lower-level tsunami warnings or advisories for the rest of the western coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu. Urgent evacuations were underway as torrents of water reaching as high as five meters were anticipated. Japanese public broadcaster NHK TV played a vital role in disseminating these warnings.
Ongoing Warnings and Aftershocks
NHK cautioned that the tsunami waves could keep returning, and warnings continued to be aired more than two hours after the initial alert. Additionally, several aftershocks rocked the region, compounding the concerns.
Impact on Infrastructure
The earthquakes themselves caused damage, with Japanese news footage showing reddish smoke emanating from an area in Wajima city, Ishikawa Prefecture, suggesting a possible fire. Reports indicated a collapsed house in another area, and search efforts were in progress to rescue anyone trapped in the debris. Bullet trains were halted, parts of the highway were closed, and water pipes had burst, adding to the challenges faced by local authorities.
Regional Tsunami Alerts
Tsunami warnings were also extended to Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido and reached parts of North Korea and Russia. Russian officials issued a tsunami alert for the island of Sakhalin, cautioning that areas across the island’s west coast could be affected by the waves.
Immediate Evacuation Urged
In response to the escalating situation, the Japanese government set up a special emergency centre to gather and swiftly relay information about the quakes and tsunami to residents, prioritizing their safety. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated the warning for immediate evacuation in affected areas.
This remains a developing situation, and NetNewsLedger will provide updates as more information becomes available.