Municipal fire department via Associated Press A woman was rescued from the debris of her home in Wajima on Thursday 72 hours after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Japan.
Yuri Kageyama – Associated Press, Ayaka McGill – Agence France-Presse, Hiro Komae – Associated Press to Wajima
January 5, 2024
A woman has been carefully pulled from the rubble 72 hours after a series of powerful earthquakes shook Japan's west coast. Despite relief efforts, the death toll stands at at least 98 people.
The number of missing people fell to 211 on Saturday, after rising sharply two days ago.
An elder was found alive Wednesday in a collapsed house in Suzu, one of the hardest-hit towns in Ishikawa Prefecture. His daughter shouted “Daddy, Daddy” as a group of firefighters carried him out on a stretcher, praising him for holding on so long after the 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Monday.
Others were forced to wait while rescuers searched for their loved ones.
Ishikawa officials said 59 of the deceased were in the town of Wajima and 23 in Suzu, while other deaths were reported in five neighboring towns. More than 500 people were injured, at least 27 seriously.
The University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute has found that the sandy coastline of western Japan has moved up to 250 meters seaward in some places .
The earthquakes triggered a large fire in the city of Wajima, as well as tsunamis and landslides in the region. With some roads cut off by the destruction, concerns grew for communities where water, food, blankets and medicine had not yet arrived.
The United States announced $100,000 in aid Friday, including blankets, water and medical supplies, and promised more help would come. Dodgers major player Shohei Ohtani also announced aid for the Noto region, although he did not disclose the amount.
Thousands of Japanese troops joined relief efforts to reach the hardest-hit places on the Noto Peninsula, the center of the earthquake, connected by a narrow strip of land to the rest of the island main city of Honshu.
Experts have warned of illness and even death in evacuation centers that are now home to around 34,000 people who have lost their homes, many of them elderly.
Masashi Tomari, a 67-year-old oyster farmer who lives in Anamizu town in Ishikawa, said it was difficult to sleep on the ground with just one blanket. There was no heating until two heaters arrived on Thursday, three days after the earthquake.
Dozens of aftershocks shook Ishikawa and the neighboring region last week. Japan is a country extremely prone to earthquakes. Weather forecasts called for rain and snow over the weekend, and experts warned of more aftershocks.