Updated at 11:53 p.m. ET
A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido at about 3 a.m. Thursday morning, triggering massive landslides and widespread power losses.
The fatality occurred in Mukawa-cho, Hokkaido, according to NHK.
Landslides along a ridge in the town of Atsuma have wiped out several homes and officials fear that residents may be trapped inside. Thousands of rescue workers have been mobilized to help dig people out of the rubble.
Nearly 3 million buildings lost power after the quake rocked the island, NHK reported. The Tomari nuclear power plant is running on back-up emergency generators as are local hospitals.
According to the Associated Press, “Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters that the extensive power outage was caused by an emergency shutdown of the main thermal power plant that supply half of the electricity to all of Hokkaido.”
NHK reported that public transit, including the Shinkansen bullet train services, have been suspended. Flights have also been grounded.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he had deployed 4,000 troops to local search and rescue operations in Hokkaido, the AP reported. He also planned to send another 20,000 troops to affected sites, the wire service said.
The epicenter of the quake was about 16 miles from the Hokkaido’s main airport in the city of Chitose — about 70 miles south of Sapporo. The Japan Meteorological Agency has reported several aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 5.4 to 2.7. The agency said they pose no tsunami risk.
Thursday’s earthquake comes less than a day after a powerful typhoon killed at least 11 people in western Japan.
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