A powerful earthquake with a 7.6 magnitude struck central Japan on Monday, which caused widespread power outages, destroyed buildings, and prompted evacuations.

Residents living in coastal areas fled to higher ground as the region had at least three tsunami alerts.

“The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 triggered waves of about 1m (3 feet) along Japan’s west coast and neighbouring South Korea on Monday,” Al Jazeera reports.

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Footage showed the pavement cracking in the street.

From Al Jazeera:

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued tsunami warnings for the prefectures of Ishikawa, Niigata and Toyama. A major tsunami warning – the first since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan – was initially issued for Ishikawa but later downgraded.

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Russia and North Korea also issued tsunami warnings for some areas.

Japanese government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters that the earthquake had caused several destroyed houses, and led to fires, and army personnel have been dispatched to help with rescue operations while authorities continue to assess the damage.

More strong quakes in the area, where seismic activity has been simmering for more than three years, could occur over coming days, JMA official Toshihiro Shimoyama said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters he had instructed search-and-rescue teams to do everything possible to save lives, even though access to quake-hit areas is difficult due to blocked roads.

The earthquake caused water containing radioactive materials at a nuclear power plant to spill.

Per The Japan News:

Water from the fuel pools at the top floors of the No. 7 and No. 2 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture spilled over due to strong earthquakes, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. announced Monday. No damage or leakage out of the buildings was confirmed.

According to TEPCO, when the company checked the fuel pools of reactors No. 1 through No. 7 at around 6:45 p.m., it found that water containing radioactive materials were spilled from the pools for about 10 liters from No. 2 reactor and about 4 liters from No. 7 reactor. TEPCO is measuring the radiation levels.

More coverage from BBC News:

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