Powerful 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Tokyo, Halting Trains and Damaging Pipes

A powerful magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit Tokyo on Thursday night, damaging underground water pipes and halting trains and subways. Reports say 30 more people are injured.

This caused traffic disruptions and major local train delays on Friday, having hundreds of commuters overflow in Kawaguchi station and long waiting line outside of Shinjuku station. Most trains operated Friday morning with entry restrictions to avoid overcrowding.

The quake centered in Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo, reached a depth of about 80 kilometers (48 miles), swaying buildings and swinging hanging objects violently as an effect, says the Meteorological Agency.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said there were no abnormalities at nuclear power facilities in the area. In addition, the shaking did not impose a threat of tsunami.

Injuries caused by the Tokyo quake

Train Station - Japan

(Photo : Photo by Redd on Unsplash)

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency reported in following day that 32 people were injured from the quake on Thursday night, wherein three were hurt seriously. Meanwhile, 11 people were injured in the epicenter Chiba prefecture, including two women in different locations who sprained their ankles as they were thrown to the floor due to the strong shake.

According to the disaster management agency, three passengers on a commuter train also garnered slight injuries after falling when the train partially derailed in eastern Tokyo as it made an emergency stop.

There are also reported injuries from Kanagawa, Saitama and Gunma prefectures.

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Damage in utilities


The powerful earthquake also caused disruptions in electricity and train services.

In downtown Tokyo, 250 homes temporarily lost power after the quake, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings.

In addition, “Shinkansen” super express trains in and out of Tokyo were halted for safety checks before resuming operation, East Japan Railway Co. Said.

On late Thursday, Tokyo’s Yamanote loop line and subways restarted operation but with major delays. Local trains outside of Shinagawa station were halted as well due to power outages. It took long for people to get home due to long lines of trying to get taxis.

Meanwhile, dozens of people were stranded at stations in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba. Local municipalities had to set up shelters at their facilities for some people to stay.

The power outage also trapped some people in an elevator at Tokyo’s metropolitan government building when it suddenly stopped.

In addition to the damages on public utilities, the fire and disaster officials reported broken underground water pipes in dozens of locations in Tokyo. In one district, water was gushing from the ground.

On a Twitter post, New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida relayed a message urging people to “check the latest information and take action to protect your lives,” as the strongest earthquake in Tokyo had occurred since March 2011.

Kishida then returned to his office late Thursday to lead the government’s response on damages, disruptions, and other effects of the strong quake.

Also read: 5 Billion People May Suffer From Water Shortage by 2050, Warns United Nations

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