Japan earthquake: the number of victims and how to protect yourself



Japan earthquake: the number of victims and how to protect yourself

A massive earthquake has hit Japan, destroying buildings and sparking fires. This natural disaster is recognized as the most powerful in the country in recent years. Find out more about the earthquake's impact, casualties, and safety tips

An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside your home country
An insurance policy is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside your home country

On January 1, 2024, at around 16:10 local time, a strong earthquake occurred in Japan with an epicenter in the area of Noto village and a seismic intensity of about 7 points in the city of Shiga (Ishikawa region). The storm was recognized as the strongest natural disaster in the country in the last 8 years.

We will tell you more about the consequences of the earthquake, the number of victims and how to protect tourists.

How many people were injured in the January 2024 Japan earthquake?

The main center of the earthquake formed along the west coast of Japan, on the remote Noto Peninsula, in the central part of Ishikawa Prefecture, 500 km from the capital Tokyo.

According to Ishikawa Prefecture, as of January 8, 168 people died in the earthquake. The largest number of deaths was recorded in the cities of Wajima and Suzu. More than 500 people were injured, of which at least 27 people are in serious condition. There have been no reports of injured foreigners so far.

323 people are considered missing. Rescuers continue to break up the debris, but worsening weather conditions significantly complicate the operation.

About 28,000 residents of the region were forced to evacuate. Also, 24 villages and 2 towns are still blocked due to landslides, in total, about 3,300 people. Japan's self-defense forces use helicopters for rescue operations and delivery of food and water to isolated areas.

Nearly 23,200 households were without power in Ishikawa, and more than 66,400 are without running water.

According to the mayor of Suzu, in the city of about 13,000 people, almost none of the buildings survived the earthquake. About 90% are completely or almost completely destroyed.

In addition, 500 people were stranded at Noto Airport after the terminal there was damaged. Passengers were provided with food and blankets, because the nearby roads were also destroyed, so people could not leave.

Seismic activity in Japan

Four of the world's tectonic plates collide in Japan, making the country particularly prone to earthquakes. Hundreds of aftershocks occur here every year, but most of them cause almost no damage. For example, more than 1,200 earthquakes have already been recorded in 2024, according to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

Over the past three years, more than 500 small and medium-sized earthquakes have occurred in Japan. The earthquake at the beginning of 2024 became the largest since 2016. Then 276 people died in Kumamoto, in southwestern Japan.

A terrible tragedy occurred in Japan in 2011, when an underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 9 triggered a powerful tsunami that destroyed entire communities and caused an accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. At least 18,500 people died during the disaster.

How can tourists protect themselves from earthquakes while traveling in Japan?

Currently, the governments of most countries around the world advise their citizens to postpone travel to the affected regions of Japan, to remain vigilant, to take all necessary measures for personal safety and to listen to the instructions of local authorities.

While in Japan, it is important to pay attention to alerts, because the authorities inform citizens about a possible earthquake with a force of more than 5 points. Residents are told about the predicted activity, as well as the locations of the most intense tremors. People are notified not only by special sound signals, but also by sending messages to the phone, talking on television, on the radio, etc.

The advantage is that most buildings in Japan have high earthquake resistance and a good degree of safety. However, if a major earthquake does occur during your stay in Japan and you fear for your safety, you should follow the guidelines below:

1. When you are indoors

- Protect yourself by hiding under a sturdy table or similar object.

- Move away from any furniture or glass that can easily fall, scatter and injure you.

- Don't rush to the yard.

If you are in a hotel, supermarket, theater or any other public place, follow the instructions of the staff, they may ask you to move to a place that is considered safe.

2. If you are outside:

- Use a bag or hand luggage to protect your head.

- Move away from structures such as concrete block walls and watch out for falling objects such as bricks, glass or signs.

3. When the aftershocks are over, carefully investigate the situation and take your time. Use the website and other sources for accurate information.

Taking into account that an earthquake can not only harm your health, but also destroy your plans, it is important to take out a travel insurance policy before your trip, which is able to protect travelers from unnecessary expenses in an emergency situation (flight delay, lost luggage), provide quality free treatment and, if necessary, transportation to the country of origin.

Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World

To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need travel insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Travel guide for 200 countries;

Legal advice from a local specialist on visa and migration issues;

Travel insurance around the world (please select the country of interest and citizenship to receive services);

Medical insurance all over the world.

Photo: pbs.org

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