Rescue Efforts Continue Across Japan’s Quake-hit Ishikawa Prefecture

Rescue Efforts Continue Across Japan’s Quake-hit Ishikawa Prefecture

Jan. 11, 2024, 8:37 a.m.

Rescue efforts continue in the Noto Peninsula, central Japan, where a deadly earthquake struck on New Year's Day. Life in evacuation centers is becoming tougher for thousands of residents displaced from their homes.

At least 206 people are confirmed dead and over 50 remain unaccounted for in the worst-hit prefecture of Ishikawa. In Wajima City, police have been searching for missing people after a massive fire sparked by the quake.

The blaze burned nearly 50,000 square meters and destroyed more than 200 buildings in the popular tourist destination.

A female resident said: "It's terrible that people are still missing. I hope we can find them soon."

Relief efforts are being hampered by damaged roads and cold winter weather.

Officials say more than 3,000 people in the cities of Wajima and Suzu and the town of Noto are without power.

Over 26,000 people have been forced to stay at evacuation shelters across the prefecture. Conditions inside some of the shelters are deteriorating.

Doctors and nurses with an international NGO flew into one isolated community and are working at a shelter housing dozens of elderly people.

Local officials say eight people have died, apparently from disaster-related causes.

Ishikawa Governor Hase Hiroshi said he wants to accommodate the most vulnerable evacuees in hotels and other facilities.

He said, "The elderly and others in need of support should be immediately transported to other centers to prevent quake-related deaths."

The governor says he will visit affected areas with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio this weekend. Kishida is expected to survey the situation and determine what more needs to be done.

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