Japan: Two killed after 6.7-magnitude natural disaster hits Hokkaido island, triggers landslides

Strong earthquake strikes near Tomakomai in northern Japan

A magnitude-6.7 quake struck southwestern Hokkaido early on September 6, causing dozens of casualties, destroying buildings, triggering landslides that buried houses, and cutting off electricity to all homes on the main northern island.

Suga said authorities were doing their utmost to rescue and assess damage after receiving hundreds of calls about people missing and buildings collapsing.

Around 20,000 rescue workers, including police and members of the Self-Defence Forces were responding to the disaster, government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said.

Two people had been killed and about 40 were missing, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Japan's most powerful typhoon in 25 years left at least 11 people dead.

It struck near Hokkaido's main airport, New Chitose Airport, which would be closed for at least Thursday.

Hokkaido's natural disaster comes just days after Typhoon Jebi devastated western Japan, including floodwaters that closed Osaka's Kansai Airport.

The magnitude 6.7 quake struck the island of Hokkaido at 3:08 a.m., damaging homes, roads and a coal-fired power plant, officials said. The epicenter was located about 70 miles south of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido.

Around three million homes lost power after the quake damaged a major thermal plant supplying the region.

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Emergency shutdowns at fossil fuel-fired power plants cut electricity to the entire island - the size of Austria - leaving all trains, including high-speed services, halted, said Hokkaido Railway Co.

It had been hoped that power would be restored in hours and some electricity gradually returned but damage to generators at the plant means it may take more than a week before it is back up, Mr Seko said.

TV footage showed dozens of houses at the bottom of a hill engulfed by a landslide.

A series of smaller shocks, including one with a magnitude of 5.4, followed the initial temblor, the Meteorological Agency said.

Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) officials said it was the largest quake to strike the district since records were first taken in 1923.

A powerful quake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.7 has struck northern Japan, centered near the cities of Tomakomai and Sapporo, seismologists say.

Airports and many roads on the island were closed following the early morning quake.

The Tomari Nuclear Power Station, which has been shut since a 2011 quake and tsunami, suffered a power outage but officials said it was cooling its spent nuclear fuel safely.

A Kiwi staying near the epicentre at Obihiro has described the moment the quake hit.

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