Feedback | Saturday, April 13, 2024

03/01/24 | 2:03 pm

Japan earthquake toll rises to 64, rescue efforts hampered by harsh conditions

Japanese authorities have confirmed a total of 64 deaths in the New Year's Day earthquake, marking it as the deadliest earthquake in Japan since at least 2016, with the number rising from 55 late on Tuesday.

Rescue teams and survivors are facing significant challenges amid freezing temperatures. Reports indicate that the teams are grappling with the harsh conditions to reach coastal areas where many individuals are feared trapped under potentially thousands of destroyed homes.

Heavy rains are forecast in the quake-affected areas on Wednesday, raising fears of landslides that could hinder ongoing efforts to free those trapped under rubble.

Severed roads, damaged infrastructure, and the remote location of the hardest-hit areas have complicated rescue efforts. The full extent of damage and casualties remains unclear two days after the quake.

Around 200 tremors have been detected since the quake first hit on Monday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which warned that more strong shocks could hit in coming days.

Over 33,000 people have evacuated their homes and some areas have no access to water or electricity and have spotty signal, according to Ishikawa prefecture.

Meanwhile, China has offered assistance to Japan in dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake. The Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday said that China is willing to provide necessary help to Japan. Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also informed that there have been no Chinese casualties reported from the earthquake. 

The 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa on Monday, initially claiming at least 48 lives. The quake prompted people to seek temporary shelter in vehicles due to the potential threat of tsunamis. Tsunami waves of 50 cm were recorded in the western coastal region of Japan until 4:23 pm on Monday.

(Input from Reuters)

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