Japan earthquake: Thousands in shelters overnight after tsunami warnings

By. Nehal

Thousands of people in Japan are spending the night in evacuation centres after a powerful earthquake. Four people are confirmed to have been killed, the Kyodo news agency reports, and dozens of others have been injured. An unknown number of people are trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings in several towns. The 7.6-magnitude quake struck at around 16:10 local time (07:10 GMT) on Monday. Tsunami warnings were issued and later downgraded. About 60 tremors have been recorded following the initial quake.

The full extent of the damage is unlikely to be clear until Tuesday morning, but major damage to infrastructure is evident. Officials in Suzu City in Ishikawa prefecture said several houses and power poles collapsed, according to national broadcaster NHK. Major highways were closed near the quake's epicentre and more than 36,000 households were left without power, according to utilities provider Hokuriku Electric Power. The waves that actually hit the Sea of Japan coastline in Ishikawa on Monday were not much more than a metre high. The major warning was later downgraded to simply a warning, and then an advisory. Nearby Niigata and Toyama prefectures were also on alert. Japan's allies have sent messages of support to Tokyo in the wake of the disaster.