Tsunami floods 190 hectares after central Japan quake

Photo: Kyodo

Tsunami waves generated by the powerful earthquake that jolted the Noto Peninsula and its vicinity in central Japan on New Year's Day swept across some 190 hectares of land in three municipalities, the government said Monday, Kyodo reports. 

The death toll from the quake disaster climbed to 222 as of Monday afternoon, two weeks after the magnitude-7.6 temblor, according to the Ishikawa prefectural government.

The tsunami inflicted damage mostly in the northeastern part of the peninsula, including Suzu and Noto on the Sea of Japan coast, wrecking houses and port facilities, though the full extent of the destruction is yet to be assessed.

The 190 hectares also include areas of the coastal town of Shika in the central part of the prefecture, according to the central government.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told a press conference that breakwaters were damaged at least in seven beaches hit by tsunami waves.

The extent of inundation was determined based on images taken by the helicopters of the land ministry and the prefectural government, as well as map information from the country's Geospatial Information Authority.

A team of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers, which conducted an on-site survey, has found signs of tsunami waves reaching as high as 4 meters in multiple locations.

With lifeline utilities still to recover in the Noto region, the government of disaster-hit Wajima said more than half of the 401 students of all three junior high schools run by the city in Ishikawa's north will be relocated to prefectural facilities in the southern city of Hakusan on Wednesday to ensure a better educational environment.

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