At least 92 dead, 242 missing in Japanese quakes over fears of escalating damage

January 5, 2024
Updated 2024/01/05 at 4:56 PM
3 Min Read
Japanese quakes

TOKYO, Jan. 5 – The death toll has risen to 92, with the number of people unaccounted for exceeding 200 in the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa four days after a series of earthquakes of up to 7.6 magnitude struck the prefecture and its vicinity, raising concerns of escalating damages as rescue and search efforts intensify.

As of 9:00 a.m. local time on Friday, a total of 242 people were reported missing in Ishikawa, national news agency Kyodo reported, citing prefectural authorities.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the most-hit coastal city of Wajima still faces over 40 cases of people being buried and trapped under collapses. The Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have expanded their efforts with approximately 4,600 personnel involved, collaborating with the police and fire departments to expedite search and confirmation of the safety of those missing.

An area of about 48,000 square meters, equivalent to the size of 4.5 football fields, was destroyed after a massive fire broke out in the center of Wajima city during the temblors, Kyodo reported, citing the latest estimates from Geospatial Information Authority of Japan.

The delivery of essential supplies remains a challenge, with over 10 locations experiencing road closures due to landslides. Meanwhile, over 700 people are stranded in isolated communities across the prefecture.

The region’s infrastructure has suffered severe setbacks, with around 30,000 households facing power outages and 80,000 households in 13 cities and towns experiencing water supply disruptions.

While some 33,000 people have stayed at about 370 evacuation centers in Ishikawa, issues related to sanitation, including access to toilets, have also emerged as pressing concerns, local media reports showed.

A series of strong earthquakes, with a major one of 7.6 magnitude, on Monday struck at a shallow depth in the Noto region of Ishikawa. The Japan Meteorological Agency has officially named it the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

Centered around 30 km east-northeast of Wajima, the devastating quake registered a maximum intensity of 7, which would make it impossible for people to stand.

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