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Japan earthquake death toll rises to 55, officials say

The region has suffered from hundreds of aftershocks over the past two days.

Published: January 2, 2024 10:23am

The death toll from Japan's devastating earthquake Monday has risen to 55, Ishikawa Prefecture officials said Tuesday after the district suffered from a 7.6 magnitude quake and dozens of aftershocks. 

The Ishikawa Prefecture confirmed Tuesday evening local time that 55 people died from the earthquake on the coast of central Japan, according to state-run broadcaster NHK

The region suffered from hundreds of aftershocks over the past two days, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. The country had issued a tsunami warning and ordered evacuations after the 7.6 magnitude quake, but it has since passed. 

"The damage is catastrophic," Suzu City Mayor Izumiya Masuhiro said, as translated. "About 6,000 households live in Suzu City, but 4,000 to 5,000 households are unable to live in their homes." 

The destruction may be even greater, as Japanese media reports cited by The Associated Press said that the quake destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

Additionally, about 200 buildings in Wajima City were destroyed when a fire broke out after the quake, according to a fire department cited by NHK.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday that 1,000 Japanese armed service members are on the ground assisting, and he is mobilizing more first responders to the area. 

The mobilization effort suffered a tragedy of its own on Tuesday. 

One of the Coast Guard aircraft traveling to the affected area collided with a Japan Airlines passenger plane in Tokyo's Haneda Airport Tuesday, killing five Coast Guard crew members and leaving the pilot severely injured.

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