Japan Quake Survivors Endure Freezing Rain And Landslide Risks

Web DeskJanuary 3, 2024
Japan Quake Survivors Endure Freezing Rain And Landslide Risks

The death toll resulting from a devastating earthquake that struck Japan on New Year’s Day escalated to 64 by Wednesday, prompting authorities to mobilize urgent aid efforts for survivors confronted with freezing temperatures and an imminent forecast of heavy rain. The earthquake, initially measuring 7.6 in magnitude, struck the Noto peninsula on Monday afternoon, causing widespread destruction that included the leveling of houses and the isolation of remote areas from essential aid.

The situation worsened as heavy rains were predicted for the affected areas on Wednesday, heightening concerns about potential landslides that could further impede ongoing efforts to rescue numerous individuals trapped under rubble. Complicating these rescue operations were severed roads, damaged infrastructure, and the remote locations of the most severely impacted areas, contributing to the lack of clarity regarding the full extent of damage and casualties even two days after the earthquake.

Read more : Massive Japan Quake Triggers Coastal Evacuation

The official death toll, which stood at 55 late on Tuesday, increased to 64, marking this earthquake as the deadliest in Japan since at least 2016. The Noto peninsula continued to experience smaller quakes, adding to the challenges faced by rescue teams. Despite adverse conditions, firefighters from Osaka and Nara prefectures persisted in their search for survivors, particularly focusing on a woman trapped in a wooden structure crushed by a seven-floor building that had collapsed sideways. The rescue efforts involved the painstaking removal of rubble with the aim of reaching the woman, who unfortunately displayed no vital signs, as reported by a firefighter on the scene.

In response to the escalating crisis, the government took measures to facilitate aid delivery, opening a sea route for this purpose. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, addressing the press following a national disaster response meeting, acknowledged the critical nature of the situation, emphasizing the need for swift action in what he termed a “battle against time” over 40 hours after the initial quake.

The magnitude of the humanitarian crisis became even more apparent as over 33,000 people evacuated their homes, leaving some areas with no access to basic necessities such as water or electricity, compounded by sporadic signal connectivity, according to Ishikawa prefecture officials. At a regional emergency disaster meeting on Wednesday morning, mayors from the hardest-hit cities urgently called upon the government to clear roads and expedite aid delivery. Masuhiro Izumiya, the mayor of Suzu, a town near the quake’s epicenter with approximately 13,000 residents, expressed the dire need for sustenance, stating, “Even those who narrowly escaped death can’t survive without food and water,” lamenting the absence of essential supplies like bread.

Similarly, Shigeru Sakaguchi, the mayor of Wajima city, which faced significant impact, acknowledged the government’s efforts but highlighted the inadequate provision of meals, with only 2,000 meals received for around 10,000 evacuees so far. He noted that some areas lacked access to electricity, leaving people in the cold, and pointed out the logistical challenges of reaching several areas outside the city center, which could only be accessed by helicopter due to severed roads.

In summary, the aftermath of the New Year’s Day earthquake in Japan unfolds as a multifaceted crisis, with escalating casualties, challenges in rescue operations, and a growing humanitarian emergency demanding immediate and comprehensive government response.

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