Japan marks 1 month on from New Year’s Day earthquake

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Japan marks 1 month on from New Year’s Day earthquake


Tokyo, Feb 1 (EFE).- Japan on Thursday marked one month on from the magnitude-7.6 New Year’s Day earthquake that killed 238 people, with some 14,000 still displaced on the damaged Noto Peninsula on the Ishikawa coast.

The authorities of Ishikawa prefecture, where the towns most damaged by the disaster are located, are to observe a minute’s silence at the exact time the earthquake occurred, 4.10 pm local time (05:10 GMT), in memory of the victims of the worst natural disaster that has hit the archipelago since 2011.

In addition to the more than 200 deaths, the earthquake injured 1,179 people and 19 are still missing, in addition to damaging nearly 46,300 buildings, according to the latest data provided by local authorities.

The deceased and missing have had to close the curtain on their lives suddenly due to an unexpected natural disaster, Ishikawa Governor Hiroshi Hase said hours before the event in memory of the victims, adding that he shares the pain and sorrow of their families and loved ones and renews his commitment to respond to their needs.

A month on from the catastrophe, which altered the topography of the region, survivors are struggling to regain some normality while businesses continue to consider how to open.

Power supply has been largely restored in the affected areas. Some 2,500 homes in six municipalities – including Wajima and Suzu, the most affected and with the majority of victims – are still without electricity, compared to the 40,000 homes that were affected immediately after the earthquake.

The area’s power operator, Hokuriku Electric, estimates that it will take at least two more months to restore service to northwest Wajima and other areas due to road damage from landslides.

The recovery of the water supply faces greater difficulties. More than 110,000 homes were left without water shortly after the earthquake and 40,890 were still without supply on Wednesday.

Telecommunications are also interrupted in some areas as 122 telephone poles remain out of service, according to Yomiuri newspaper.

Since the earthquake on Jan. 1 and until early Tuesday morning more than 1,500 tremors of considerable intensity had been recorded, according to figures from the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Among them, a magnitude-4.4 shake occurred at 8.07 am local time Thursday (23:07 GMT Wednesday).

Although seismic activity is gradually reducing, meteorological authorities urge continued alert. EFE

mra-yk/tw


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