The death toll from the powerful earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula and surrounding areas in central Japan has risen to 24 people as rescue operations continue.

Kyodo News explained that "the magnitude-7.6 quake caused extensive structural damage and fires in the city of Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture, as continuing aftershocks and rubble on roads hampered rescue operations."

Tsunami warnings covering large areas along the Sea of Japan were lifted on Tuesday morning, after the highest wave of around 1.2 meters reached Wajima Port on Monday night.

Ishikawa prefectural officials said that fires have engulfed over 200 structures in the central Wajima area, but the chances of them spreading further are slim.

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that, " it is extremely difficult for vehicles to enter northern areas of the Noto Peninsula," adding that the central government has been coordinating shipment of relief supplies using ships. Around 1,000 Self-Defense Force personnel were sent in rescue and relief operations, Kishida said.

The earthquake's center was around 30 kilometers east-northeast of Wajima with a depth of 16 km. It registered a maximum 7 on the country's seismic intensity scale, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. (QNA)
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