February 26, 2024

The death toll from the New Year’s Day earthquake in Japan has risen to 161, with 103 people still missing. More than 2,000 people are cut off due to the damage, landslides, and snow, with some areas receiving over 10 centimeters of snow. Despite the difficulties, rescuers saved a woman in her 90s who was trapped under wreckage for five days. However, not everyone was as fortunate, with one man tragically losing three of his four children. Many people are currently living in overcrowded emergency shelters without sufficient water, electricity, or heating. The regional government warned about the risk of further landslides and building collapses due to the heavy snow. The government is prioritizing the rescue of people and reaching isolated communities, deploying helicopters and troops. Japan experiences many earthquakes each year, but most do not cause significant damage due to strict building codes. However, many structures, especially in rural areas, are older and more vulnerable. The country is still coping with the aftermath of the 2011 monster quake that caused widespread devastation. Governor Hiroshi Hase emphasized the need to prevent disaster-related deaths and improve conditions in shelters. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also stressed the priority of rescuing people and reaching isolated communities.

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