A 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck western Japan on Monday (New Year’s Day), which triggered a tsunami alert and calls for people to evacuate five prefectures. Emergency services are currently battling to rescue victims under rubble, with 1,000 soldiers dispatched to the area.
Tsunami warnings have been downgraded since this morning but officials are worried about possible further tremors in the next few days.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida today said: “Saving lives is our priority and we are fighting a battle against time. It is critical that people trapped in homes get rescued immediately.”
Tens of thousands of homes have reportedly been destroyed, and power, water and mobile phone services are still down in some areas.
Earthquakes frequently hit Japan because of its location along the ‘Ring of Fire’ – a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity around the edges of the Pacific Ocean.
In February a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and Syria.