April 22, 2019
Latest News

Death toll in Hokkaido earthquake climbs to 18

Tokyo, Sep 7 (efe-epa).- The number of people killed in the powerful earthquake that struck the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan climbed to 18 while 24 people remain missing, the government said Friday.

In a press conference after an emergency cabinet meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that rescue efforts are underway in the affected areas and urged people to exercise caution as rain is expected to cause more damage and landslides.

Around 40,000 members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, police, firefighters and coast guard are tirelessly working to locate the 24 people who are missing in Atsuma, the epicenter of the quake, chief government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said.

Japanese authorities also said that close to 50 percent of the electricity supply on the island has been restored and power returned to 1.5 million homes and buildings.

Production has restarted in several power plants affected by the quake on Hokkaido, which is also receiving electricity from the main island of Honshu after the central government sought support from other power companies of the country to resolve the outages.

It is expected that with the resumption of operations in thermal and hydroelectric plants on Friday the capacity will rise to 3.12 million kilowatts, around 80 percent of the maximum production recorded a day before the earthquake. The authorities have urged people to save as much energy as possible.

The 6.7-magnitude earthquake on Thursday triggered an immediate shutdown of the main Tomato thermal power plant in Atsuma, which accounted for half of the electricity production on the island, and other power plants, leaving 2.95 million houses and buildings without electricity.

The power cut also affected transport services, which will resume in the next few hours.

The high-speed railway operator JR Hokkaido said it would resume operations around noon, while the New Chitose Airport, the largest in Sapporo, was scheduled to reopen later on Friday for incoming flights.

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