Sunday, April 21, 2024

Japan Earthquake: Death Toll Rises to 84

Thousands of rescuers are scrambling in search of survivors after a 7.5-magnitude quake hit Ishikawa prefecture on New Year’s Day.

The earthquake not only triggered numerous tsunami waves over a meter high but also tore apart roads and caused a major fire.

The Noto peninsula area was most severely hit, with hundreds of houses in Suzu and Wajima flattened and ravaged by fire. The scale of destruction can be seen in before-and-after satellite images, that were released on Wednesday.

ishikawa earthquake damage
Satellite photos show the extent of the quake damage

According to the regional government, more than 80 people have been confirmed dead, with over 300 injured. The toll was expected to rise due to poor weather and aftershocks, which hindered the rescue team’s search efforts.

Currently, more than 32,000 people are in shelters.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said after an emergency task force meeting that they’ve received a lot of information and are aware that people are waiting for assistance.

Masuhiro Izumiya, the mayor of Suzu, a coastal town in Ishikawa prefecture, said there are nearly “no houses standing” after the quake.

One woman, who is currently staying at a shelter, told media outlets that she “hasn’t been able to sleep” due to all the aftershocks and that she is scared for the next quake.

Those who are lucky enough to still have their houses standing have been without power. Many cities across the prefecture are also without running water.

As of Jan. 4, more than 72 hours have passed since the quake.

According to emergency responders, survival rates drop off quickly 72 hours after a quake, which is why they are putting utmost priority on the search and rescue missions. According to authorities, at least 180 people are still unaccounted for.

ishikawa rescue
Search and rescue teams are working around the clock to search for survivors

Three days since the earthquake, more than two dozen villages remain inaccessible. While material aid has trickled in, many evacuees are still cut off from water, food, communications, and electricity. The bad weather and freezing temperatures have also complicated things.

62-year-old Kyoko Kinoshita, who spoke while lining up for food in Wajima, said there is no running water, which means they can’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

In addition to the villages, approximately 500 people were also stranded at Noto airport after the quake caused the terminal to collapse. While they are being given blankets and food, they are currently unable to leave as the nearby roads are too severely damaged.

ishikawa earthquake

While there was initially a tsunami warning, it was later downgraded and lifted on Tuesday morning.

Since the quake, Japan’s closest allies, including US President Joe Biden offered their condolences over the disaster. They also said they are ready to offer Japan their assistance.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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