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11 confirmed dead, 22 unaccounted for after huge quake in Hokkaido

Police officers and other rescue workers search around a collapsed building hit by a landslide following an earthquake in the Hokkaido Prefecture town of Atsuma, on the morning of Sept. 7, 2018. (Mainichi)

A total of 11 people have been confirmed dead and another seven are in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest following the deadly quake that struck Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido in the predawn hours of Sept. 6, while 22 more people remain unaccounted for, according to data collected by the Hokkaido Prefectural Government and other sources as of 11 a.m. on Sept. 7.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated in a news conference that 16 people had died.

Power is gradually being restored in areas that were hit by blackouts following the magnitude 6.7 quake, which measured a full 7 on the 7-point Japanese seismic intensity scale. So far, power has been restored to roughly 1,455,000 homes, or about half of the total in the prefecture. Operations at New Chitose Airport, which was closed due to leaks and other problems, have partially been restored.

A total of 28 homes were completely destroyed in the quake, including from landslide damage. Of these, 19 were in the Hokkaido town of Atsuma, where landslides directly struck residences. One person in Sapporo and six others in three other districts of the prefecture remained in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. Over half of the 34 residents in the Yoshino district of Atsuma were caught up in the landslides.

As of 11:00 a.m. on Sept. 7, a total of 7,339 people, mainly in the city of Sapporo and in the town of Mutsukawa remained evacuated as of 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 7. A total of 1,753 public schools, or roughly 90 percent of the total, halted classes as an emergency measure.

Hokkaido Electric Power Co. said operations of coal-fired and hydroelectric power plants had been restored and power delivered from Japan's main island of Honshu to enable the restoration of power to approximately 1,455,000 homes, or nearly half in the prefecture. The company said it aimed to secure about 80 percent of the regular demand on Sept. 7. Hokkaido Prefectural Police said that as of noon on Sept. 7, power had been restored to about half of some 13,000 traffic lights across the prefecture.

All domestic and international flights had been suspended at New Chitose Airport in the prefecture on Sept. 6, but flights resumed in the morning of Sept. 7, with a Vanilla Air plane landing following a flight from Narita Airport near Tokyo.

(Japanese original by Tamami Kawakami and Hironori Tsuchie, City News Department)

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