Updated Jan 2, 2024 - World

What we know about Japan's deadly earthquake

 Firefighters inspect collapsed wooden houses in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture on January 2, 2024, a day after a major 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Noto region in Ishikawa prefecture in the afternoon.

Firefighters inspect collapsed wooden houses in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Tuesday after an earthquake struck the Noto region the previous day. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit western Japan on Monday, killing at least 84 people and triggering fires, power outages, demolishing buildings and forcing evacuation orders for tens of thousands of residents along the coast.

The big picture: Rescue crews were still rushing to find additional survivors on Thursday as the three-day survival window following quakes closed earlier that day.

  • Rescue operations continued Wednesday despite a forecast of heavy rains and freezing temperatures could hamper efforts.
  • President Biden said in a statement on Monday afternoon that his administration "has been in touch with Japanese officials, and the United States stands ready to provide any necessary assistance for the Japanese people."

State of play: The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a major tsunami warning for Ishikawa after the quake struck at 4pm Monday local time (2am ET), but it was later downgraded. Tsunami warnings were also issued in eastern Russia.

  • 156 people had been rescued by Thursday, though at least 179 others remain unaccounted for, Reuters reports.
  • There were "numerous" reports of people injured and trapped, the Wajima Fire Department told AFP after the quake. The firefighters were working to put out a blaze in Wajima City, the largest city in the Okunoto region that extends into the Sea of Japan.
  • Electricity had been out for more than 30,000 households in Ishikawa and neighboring Niigata Prefecture, while almost 20,000 homes across four prefectures lacked running water, government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi said, according to the New York Times.
  • Hayashi added that over 57,300 people were evacuated from their homes to 1,000 different facilities in the affected prefectures.

By the numbers: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference Tuesday that 1,000 members of Japan's Self-Defense Forces were deployed to provide relief to the affected region.

  • Over 2,600 rescue and fire service personnel had also arrived, he added.
  • With the tsunami warning downgraded, Kishida said the government had been working to organize sea transports to get supplies and additional personnel to the area.

What they're saying: Kishida's office promised to prioritize "human life above all else" and "spare no effort in our emergency disaster responses, including saving lives and rescuing disaster victims."

Flashback: Nearly 13 years ago, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake killed thousands and triggered a triple meltdown at three of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant's reactors.

What we're watching: The area could expect quake aftershocks over the next few days as crews work to rescue and rebuild.

Go deeper: How earthquake research can help save the PNW from "The Big One"

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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