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Death Toll in Japan Earthquake Surges to 161, with Over 100 Still Missing

January 8, 2024

Tokyo, Jan 8: The death toll reached 128 in the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa, six days after a series of earthquakes of up to 7.6 magnitude struck the prefecture and its vicinity, authorities said.

In addition, 560 people in Ishikawa suffered injuries due to the quakes, with 195 residents in the prefecture still unaccounted for as of 2 p.m. local time as rescue operations continued in the quake-hit areas, according to local authorities.

A woman in her 90s trapped under the rubble was pulled out from a collapsed house in Suzu City, Ishikawa prefecture, at around 8:20 p.m. local time on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.

A doctor said on Sunday that the elderly woman, who was rescued 124 hours after Monday’s powerful earthquake has recovered.

According to the emergency rescue team, it is rare for people to be rescued beyond 72 hours after the quake, as the chance of survival in a disaster is said to drop significantly after the first three days.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Sunday that the government will designate the quake as a specified emergency disaster to give preferential treatment to those affected, such as extending the validity period of driver’s licenses and postponing bankruptcy proceedings.

Japan’s weather agency warned of traffic disruptions as heavy snowfall is expected to blanket disaster-hit areas, with Ishikawa likely to get up to 60 cm of snow through Monday morning.

The prefectural government plans to temporarily close major roads in case of heavy snow accumulation, potentially hindering the delivery of relief goods to those affected by the disaster, Kyodo News said.

The 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake is the first to kill more than 100 people in Japan since the 2016 Kumamoto quakes in the country’s southwestern region that claimed 276 lives.–(IANS)

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