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Japan Experiences Crisis after Crisis: M7.6 Earthquake in Noto to Airplane collision in Tokyo

photo captured from USGS

On New Year’s Day, an earthquake shook Niigata and Toyama prefectures on the west coast of Japan’s Honshu region, leaving at the moment, a death toll of 57 people, with rescue missions ongoing. Due to the earthquake jolting this area, buildings collapsed, and some people were buried underneath.

Aftershocks continued to shake Ishikawa prefecture and its vicinities. The extent of the damage is unknown at the moment, although many buildings are known to have collapsed. The authorities have not stopped looking for survivors underneath the rubble and after the tsunamis.

The very next day, on January 2, a Coast Guard airplane and Japan Airlines flight 516 crashed at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo, leaving 5 Coast Guard crew members dead. All passengers of Japan Airlines were evacuated safely.

“I heard an explosion about 10 minutes after everyone and I got off the plane,” said 28-year-old passenger Tsubasa Sawada. “I can only say it was a miracle, we could have died if we were late.”
According to Reuters, Paul Hayes, director of air safety at UK-based aviation consultancy Ascend by Cirium, noted that no one leaving the plane appeared to be carrying hand luggage – safety agencies have warned for years that pausing to collect carry-on bags during an evacuation risks lives. 

This earthquake brings to memory the many people who were lost to the earthquake and tsunami in March 11, 2011, when a 9.0-9.1 magnitude earthquake hit the Tohoku region, with Fukushima taking the majority of the damage. The officials reported that at least 19,759 people died, 6,242 were injured, and 2,553 people missing. As of 2015, at least 228,863 people have been displaced from their homes and still live away from there.

A tsunami at least 1 meter high was measured on the east coast of South Korea. On Jan. 2, residents from the State of California, Washington D.C., Maryland, and New York also experienced earthquakes of varying but much weaker magnitudes, which was confirmed by the National Weather Service as legitimate earthquakes.

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