Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Japan natural disaster: Sapporo rocked by powerful magnitude 6.7 quake

Japan natural disaster: Sapporo rocked by powerful magnitude 6.7 quake

Hokkaido Electric has shut down all fossil fuel plants, cutting power to all its almost 3 million customers, a spokesman told Reuters by phone.

Residents watch a road damaged by an quake in Sapporo, Hokkaido, northern Japan.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that the authorities were doing their utmost to rescue and assess damage after receiving hundreds of calls about people missing and buildings collapsing.

And around 30 residents were missing in Atsuma, where the intensity of the quake is estimated to have been an upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7.

Firefighters said five houses collapsed in the town of Atsuma, while two others collapsed in the city of Sapporo. The collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns were scattered about.

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"It came in four big jerks - bang! bang! bang! bang!" one unidentified woman told NHK. He said he had to hurl himself against a door of his home to try and get out, as it was bent by the quake and would not open.

Seven people are confirmed dead after the 6.7 magnitude quake caused landslides, with dozens hospitalised and millions of homes and businesses without power, according to local reports.

Hokkaido Electric Power officials said they had no idea when operations would resume but were working to start up a hydroelectric plant to resume supplying electricity. The plant has also shut down.

All trains across the island were also halted.

The government and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. said the massive power outage, covering the 2.95 million households in the prefecture, was caused because the Tomato Atsuma thermal power plant stopped, subsequently creating an imbalance in power supply and demand. It could take a week to restore power fully to all residents, Seko said. He also planned to send another 20,000 troops to affected sites, the wire service said. "All the traffic lights are out and there's no power at work".

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The agency says the natural disaster struck the island of Hokkaido about 3am on Thursday and had a depth of 33.4 kilometres.

Aerial views showed dozens of landslides in the surrounding area, with practically every mountainside a raw slash of brown amid deep green forest. Roof tiles and water lay on terminal floors.

Chitose airport is a major gateway to the island, known for its mountains, lakes and abundant farmland and seafood.

The government said airports and many roads on the island were closed following the quake.

Domestic flights would resume Friday from Kansai, said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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