Japanese rescuers are in a race against time as they scramble to search for survivors following a powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck Ishikawa prefecture on the main island of Honshu.
The quake, which occurred on Monday, triggered tsunami waves over a meter high, ignited a major fire, and caused significant damage to infrastructure, including roads.
The Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture bore the brunt of the disaster, with several hundred buildings engulfed in flames and houses flattened in towns like Wajima and Suzu. Satellite images released on Wednesday illustrated the extent of the destruction.
Authorities have confirmed that at least 62 people lost their lives, and over 300 others sustained injuries, with 20 in serious condition. Rescue efforts are ongoing, but the toll is expected to rise as responders contend with aftershocks and challenging weather conditions.
More than 31,800 people have sought refuge in shelters, while reports from Japanese media indicate tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasized the urgency of the situation, urging all available resources to be deployed for rescue operations.
“We are in a race against time, and we ask you to remain fully mindful that we are in a race against time and to continue to do your utmost to save lives, putting people’s lives first,” stated Prime Minister Kishida after an emergency taskforce meeting.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has issued a heavy rain warning in the affected area, adding another layer of urgency to the ongoing rescue operations.