An earthquake of strength 6.6 hit the second largest island Hokkaido in northern Japan on Thursday morning. It is reported that at least 7 people have died and around 300 are injured. In addition, many people are reported missing as well.
On the island, several houses have collapsed and almost three million population of Hokkaido are without power.
According to Kyodo news agency, the international airport in Chitose is closed and more than 200 flights have been canceled. All train departures on the island are also set. Several fires and other landslides are also reported as a result of the earthquake.
Varying numbers of injuries and deaths
One of the two confirmed dead is an 85-year-old man found in Tomakomai. He has fallen down the stairs in his own house when the earthquake began.
Japanese media operate with different numbers missing. There are 38 missing and 126 injured in Hokkaido, according to the broadcaster NHK.
– We have received many messages about missing people, comfirms spokesman for government, Yoshihide Suga.
Around 3 million homes are powerless as the earthquake hit a thermal power plant supplies the region with electricity. The atomic power plant Tomari in Hokkaido, which was not in operation before the earthquake, had to turn on reserve power to ensure power for its cooling system.
Many soldiers in the rescue mission
Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has assured that up to 25,000 soldiers are in the process of rescue and relief work. When local authorities asked for national help on Thursday morning, 4000 soldiers were already in search of missing.
“The government will work together for a rapid reconstruction, while the highest priority is devoted to saving human lives,” said Abe at a press conference.
The shelf was measured at 62 kilometers depth southeast of the regional capital Sapporo. According to the Japanese authorities, the tremor had a strength of 6.7, while the USGS earthquake center has measured it at 6.6.