jueves, 7 de abril de 2011

Japan: Earthquake prompts Fukushima evacuation

  
The BBC's Roland Buerk described how the quake felt in Hanamaki in north-east Japan
Authorities in north-east Japan ordered a general evacuation and workers at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant took shelter after an earthquake triggered a new tsunami warning.
However, the tsunami warning was lifted after 90 minutes and the earthquake - with a magnitude of 7.1 - did little obvious damage.
Fukushima officials said the quake had no detectable effect at the plant.
Last month's 9.0 earthquake set off a tsunami which devastated the region.
Shelter The earthquake - at a depth of 49km (32 miles) - struck off Japan's north-east coast, close to the epicentre of the 11 March quake.
All seven of the workers at Fukushima Daiichi were safe, a spokesman for plant operator Tepco told a news conference in Tokyo.
Map
"They have not been injured and they have all taken shelter in our seismic-resistant building. We are continuing to inject water, or we are continuing the injection operation at reactors 1, 2 and 3," said the spokesman, whose name was not given.
The workers are trying to keep the damaged reactors cool to stop further releases of radioactive material.
Up here, close to the epicentre, there was pretty violent shaking, both side-to-side and up and down, enough to have people leaping from their hotel rooms into the corridor and scrambling to get outside.
The tsunami warning has now been lifted for the north-east coast. Waves of a metre in height were recorded in Miyagi prefecture, next door to where I am now.
At the moment, this prefecture is still black: the electricity has failed. There are also reports that water pipes have been damaged in some places, and roads have been closed too.
The aftershock was felt in the capital Tokyo, several hundred kilometres away, and it was felt on the coast in those evacuation centres where tens of thousands ares still living after the earthquake.
It was a real jolt, a reminder of what happened as we approach the [one-month] anniversary of the earthquake of 11 March. There have been many aftershocks since then, but this one was the biggest.
Thursday's quake struck at 2332 local time (1432 GMT) on Thursday, 118km (78 miles) north of Fukushima, 40km offshore.
First reports said it had a magnitude of 7.4 but that was later revised downwards to 7.1, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
Last month's earthquake had a magnitude of 9.0 and struck at 32km deep.
USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso said Thursday's quake struck at about the same location as the 11 March quake, the AP news agency reported.
The quake was strong enough to shake buildings in Tokyo, 265km to the south.
"The earthquake was moving in an up-and-down motion," Miri Gono in Tokyo told the BBC by e-mail. It started off with small shakes, then shook bigger. I was alone in my house with my brother and we were so scared... We took our bottles of water and hid under the table."
Japan's meteorological agency issued tsunami warnings and advisories for a stretch of coast 420km long, from Aomori prefecture in the north to Ibaraki prefecture in central Japan, just north of Tokyo.
Hundreds of aftershocks have shaken north-eastern Japan in the wake of the earlier earthquake, but few have measured higher than 7.0.
About 28,000 people are dead or missing, and hundreds of thousands were left homeless after the tsunami which ripped through north-eastern Japan.
Are you on the north-east coast of Japan? Are you going to leave the area? Send us your accounts of the quake using the form below.