People in Earthquake-Hit Noto Area Plagued by Aftershocks, Rain

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People look at a collapsed house on Saturday morning, the day after an a strong earthquake, in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture.

SUZU, Ishikawa — Amid falling rain on Saturday morning, residents of the Noto area of Ishikawa Prefecture were busy with restoration work after a strong earthquake that struck the day before.

In the city of Suzu in the prefecture, the Friday afternoon quake registered upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7.

One person was confirmed dead following the quake, and 28 others were known to have suffered serious or minor injuries.

With heavy rain expected in the prefecture from Saturday night through Sunday, the Meteorological Agency warned of strong tremors and landslides.

In Suzu, a 65-year-old man died, and two people suffered serious injuries — a broken bone in one case and a serious head injury in the other. Additionally, 25 people sustained minor injuries. In Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, a 61-year-old woman also suffered minor injuries.

In Suzu, six houses and barns collapsed, a series of cliff collapses occurred, and there were road closures in the city at least 13 locations. The city dispatched a water truck due to loss of water service to 38 households in the city. In Suzu and its southern neighboring town of Noto, up to 275 people were evacuated to community centers and other facilities as of 8 a.m. Saturday.

A 53-year-old company employee living in Suzu and his family were forced to spend a night in their car after a rockfall caused by an aftershock sent a rock dozens of centimeters behind his house whose behind is a mountain.

“My family and house are safe, but what if [the mountain] collapses further due to the rain? I don’t know where to start with the cleanup,” he said.

The main earthquake struck at 2:42 p.m. on Friday. By 6:30 p.m. that evening, there had been 24 aftershocks measuring from 1 to 4 on the seismic intensity scale, but then the shaking subsided for a while.

The ground began to shake again around 9:30 p.m., with a quake measuring upper 5 in Suzu at about 9:58 p.m.

By 10 a.m. on Saturday, the total number of aftershocks had climbed to 51, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The agency warns that strong tremors with an intensity of up to upper 6 may continue to occur for about a week.

Rain is expected to continue in Ishikawa Prefecture through Monday, with heavy rain possible Saturday night into Sunday, the agency said.

The 24-hour rainfall total through 6 a.m. on Sunday is expected to be 120 millimeters.

The agency is urging people to stay out of harm’s way because the ground has loosened from the tremors and the rain will likely worsen the effects of the shaking.