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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deadly Earthquake Hits Western Japan

ReutersThe earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.9 and more than 100 aftershocks, injured at least 170 people on Sunday.
NOTO PENINSULA, Japan -- A strong earthquake killed one person and injured more than 170 in Japan on Sunday, demolishing houses, buckling roads, triggering landslides and cutting off water supplies to thousands of homes.

More than 1,300 people evacuated to shelters after 44 houses collapsed and some 200 others, mostly wooden with heavy tile roofs, were seriously damaged by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake, which struck at 9:42 a.m., officials and media said.

The focus of the quake -- which was also felt in Tokyo -- was 11 kilometers below the seabed off the Noto peninsula in the Ishikawa prefecture, about 300 kilometers west of Tokyo. The mountainous peninsula in central Japan is known for its hot-spring resorts.

More than 100 aftershocks jolted the area, including one with a magnitude of 5.3 more than eight hours after the first quake, which was the biggest in the area since records began in 1926. Officials warned that more aftershocks could follow.

A 52-year-old woman died in Wajima, a resort and fishing town on the western side of the peninsula, after having been trapped under a stone lantern that had toppled in her garden.

In Nanao, a resort and fishing city with a population of around 60,000, ambulance services were flooded with calls to help people who had suffered burns and injuries.

"I looked outside and electricity poles were shaking," said Hiroshi Tanaka, a fire department official in Nanao. "Residents called in but they were calm, and there weren't many serious injuries."

About 40 people were being treated for mostly minor injuries in Wajima. Most were hurt from falls when the tremor struck or by being hit by falling objects, Kyodo news agency said.

Anxious residents gathered outside their homes in the town of 34,000 people, some holding children in their arms. Around 1,200 Wajima residents whose homes were damaged were evacuated to schools and community centers.