• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Japan quake toll rises as rescuers struggle to reach cut-off villages

Byusanewscart.com

Jan 3, 2024

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Japanese rescuers continue to search for survivors from Monday’s earthquake in Ishikawa prefecture as authorities warned heavy rain, landslides and repeated aftershocks could hamper relief efforts.

According to international media, the regional government said on Wednesday that 62 people had been confirmed dead and more than 300 injured, 20 of them seriously.

It warned the death toll was likely to climb further.

The magnitude-7.6 quake struck on Monday afternoon off the Noto Peninsula, flattening houses in Suzu on its northern coast and triggering fires that ravaged parts of nearby Wajima City. It also ripped up roads, adding to the challenge of search and rescue.

More than 31,800 people were in shelters, the government said.

“More than 40 hours have passed since the disaster. We have received a lot of information about people in need of rescue and there are people waiting for help,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said after an emergency task force meeting.

“Rescue efforts are being made by the local authorities, police, firefighters and other operational units, while the number of personnel and rescue dogs is enhanced.”

Kishida said the central government was trying to bring help to the worst-affected parts of the Noto Peninsula by ship because roads had been left almost impassable. Japan’s Self-Defence Forces was also using helicopters to reach cut-off villages, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Complicating the relief effort, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said heavy rain was expected, which could increase the risk of landslides.

“About 90 percent of the houses [in the town] are completely or almost completely destroyed the situation is really catastrophic,” he said, according to Japanese media.

Nearly 34,000 households remained without power in Ishikawa prefecture, the local utility said.

The US Geological Survey measured the quake at a magnitude of 7.5, while the JMA put it at 7.6 and issued a major tsunami warning, which was later lifted.

Monday’s quake was one of more than 400 to shake the region up until Wednesday morning, according to the JMA.

Four of the world’s tectonic plates meet in Japan making the country particularly prone to earthquakes.

It experiences hundreds every year, but most cause little to no damage.

 

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