Mega Japan quake kills 3, disrupts transport

5.1-magnitude jolt in China's Gansu

Tokyo/Beijing, Mar 17 (UNI): A 7.4-magnitude quake that struck off Japan’s Pacific coast has left at least three persons dead and more than 190 injured. Its impact on transportation and the lives of locals continued on Thursday, Japanese media reports.

The nighttime quake jolted people awake across much of eastern Japan. It registered an upper 6 on Japan’s seismic scale of zero to 7. East Japan Railway said the quake caused a bullet train to derail between Fukushima and Shiroishizao stations. However, none of the 75 passengers and three crewmembers were injured.


Maintenance workers checked the tracks on Thursday and confirmed distortions. Many train services in the Tohoku region are still suspended, leaving passengers stranded. Waves of up to 30 cm were reported at Ishinomaki Port in the Miyagi prefecture.

Hundreds of people living along the coasts of Fukushima and Miyagi were evacuated to shelters. The quake triggered blackouts that affected over 2 million households and disrupted train services, NHKnews reported. It also caused fires and structural damage, including cracks in a famous statue of a samurai leader in central Miyagi.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company reported no major problems or abnormalities at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. At the Fukushima Daini plant, the utility said water pumps in spent fuel storage pools temporarily stopped working. But there was no change in radiation levels, the NHKnews report said.

The temblor occurred at around 11.36 pm local time Wednesday at 37.7N and 141.7E at a depth of 60 km. A tsunami warning of up to 1 meter was issued to coastal areas in the Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures, with residents urged to stay away from the coast. East Nippon Expressway Company temporarily closed several sections of expressways, including the Tohoku Expressway in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and Joban Expressway in Soma, Fukushima.

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Sunan County of Zhangye City, northwest China’s Gansu Province at 8:26 a.m. Thursday Beijing Time, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC). The epicenter was monitored at 39.02 degrees north latitude and 97.66 degrees east longitude, at a depth of 9 km, the CENC said.

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