Rescuers redoubled their efforts on Saturday among the debris to recover bodies, five days after the powerful earthquake struck central Japan, leaving a confirmed death toll of 98 people. The number of victims is expected to rise, as 211 people from the Ishikawa region of Honshu Island remain unaccounted for.
The work of hundreds of rescuers is hampered by adverse weather, with snow forecasted and impassable roads due to large cracks, fallen trees, and rocks. Despite relentless efforts, the tragedy persists, with heart-wrenching accounts of people trapped beneath the rubble.
In Wajima, a seven-story building collapsed, triggering a fire that razed an entire market area. In Suzu, where dozens of homes lay in ruins, rescuers face challenging conditions as they search for survivors.
The use of trained dogs has become crucial in search and rescue operations. Residences where fatalities are discovered are marked and left for forensic identification.
The consequences of the disaster extend beyond human loss, with thousands of homes without electricity and clean water. Despite ongoing efforts, many communities remain isolated, underscoring the logistical challenges faced by rescue teams.
Regional Governor Hiroshi Hase stated, “We are doing the best we can to carry out rescues in isolated cities… However, the reality is that isolation has not been resolved to the extent we would like.” Japan, experienced in seismic activity, grapples once again with the aftermath of nature’s fury, reminiscent of the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered one of the worst nuclear disasters in history at the Fukushima plant.