Japan has issued a tsunami warning after a series of strong earthquakes – with almost 100,000 residents ordered to evacuate.
The quakes hit Ishikawa and nearby areas, with one having a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
There are reports of people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings and tens of thousands of homes are without power – with people being urged to flee to high ground due to the tsunami threat.
One elderly man died after a building collapsed in the town of Shika in Ishikawa, Japan’s NTV reported.
It was the strongest quake in the region in more than four decades, according to the US Geological Survey, and resulted in the first major tsunami warning since 2011.
The meteorological agency initially issued a major tsunami warning for Ishikawa, but this was later downgraded to a regular tsunami warning and then a tsunami advisory several hours later.
The warning had been issued for Ishikawa and nearby prefectures, along with other low-level warnings for the rest of the western coast of the island of Honshu.
A tsunami over 1.2m high struck Noto in Ishikawa, a spokesperson said.
They added there was a risk of fires, houses collapsing and landslides in areas hit by strong quakes and urged members of the public not to return to dangerous areas for at least a week.
At least 30 buildings in Ishikawa have collapsed so far, a local fire department in Wajima City said.
Residents urged to evacuate
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida urged residents facing the tsunami threat to evacuate immediately following the earthquake.
“Residents need to stay on alert for further possible quakes and I urge people in areas where tsunamis are expected to evacuate as soon as possible,” he said.
Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi said it was critical for people in coastal areas to get away from the oncoming tsunami.
“Every minute counts. Please evacuate to a safe area immediately,” he said.