Strong quake hits central Japan, 1 killed, 85 hurt

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Strong quake hits central Japan, 1 killed, 85 hurt By Chisa Fujioka Reuters Sunday, March 25, 2007; 12:15 AM TOKYO (Reuters) – A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 jolted the coastal area of central Japan on Sunday, killing at least one person and injuring around 85, Japanese officials and media said. At least nine houses collapsed, landslides were triggered and roads buckled when the quake struck at 9:42 a.m. (0042 GMT), public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo news agency said. NHK said about 30 troops were to head for the site of the quake to give assistance. “We want to ensure the safety of residents and do our best in rescue efforts,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. The focus of the tremor was at a depth of 50 km (30 miles) below the seabed off the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, about 300 km (190 miles) from Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. A 52-year-old woman died in Wajima, on the western side of the peninsula, after being trapped under a stone lantern that toppled in her garden, officials said. Media said about 40 people were being treated in the local hospital in Wajima for injuries. “Sprinklers went on, some walls collapsed. It’s really bad,” a hotel employee in Wajima told NHK, which showed footage of a tiled roof collapsed into a street and broken glass. In Nanao, a city with a population of around 60,000 on the peninsula, ambulance services were flooded with calls to help people who had suffered burns and injuries, Kyodo said. TV footage showed collapsed wooden houses, tiles from roofs scattered on narrow streets and a man digging through piles of boards from a collapsed house in Wajima. Anxious residents gathered outside their homes in Wajima, some holding children in their arms. “Books fell off bookshelves and it was the worst shaking I have ever felt,” one local official told NHK. TSUNAMI WARNING LIFTED Source: Washington Post/Reuters

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