A nonagenarian was pulled alive from the rubble of the earthquake that left at least 128 dead in central Japan, according to a new count, but rescue operations were hampered by snowfall on Sunday.
The 7.5 magnitude earthquake that devastated the Noto Peninsula on January 1, off the coast of the Sea of Japan, on the western coast of the archipelago, also left 560 injured and 195 people still missing, according to a new report announced Sunday in the afternoon. by local authorities.
On Saturday, a woman in her nineties was found alive in the rubble of her collapsed house in Suzu, at the tip of the peninsula, five days after the disaster.
She was conscious and could answer questions clearly when she was rescued and taken to a hospital for treatment, public broadcaster NHK said.
“Wait!” the rescuers shouted at him in the rain, in a video filmed by the police and broadcast by local media. “Everything will be fine!”, “stay positive.”
Some 20,000 homes remained without electricity in Ishikawa this Sunday
A Tokyo police spokesperson confirmed to AFP that the rescue was carried out by police officers from Tokyo and Fukuoka (southwest), without giving further details.
Many were less lucky: in the town of Anamizu, also on the peninsula, a 52-year-old man who learned of the death of his 21-year-old son and his in-laws was waiting for news from other members of his family. “I want them to be alive. It is unthinkable that they would leave me alone,” he told NHK.
Elsewhere in the city, an AFP photographer saw rescuers dressed in orange and blue raincoats carrying the body of a landslide victim, covered with a blue tarp.
The earthquake, followed by hundreds of aftershocks, caused the collapse of buildings and roads, thousands of landslides and fires, especially in Wajima, where authorities believe many residents remain under rubble.
The tremor, which was felt as far as Tokyo, 300 kilometers away, also caused a tsunami, with waves more than a meter high.
Rescue teams continue their efforts to search for people who remain missing or isolated due to roads damaged by the earthquake, and to deliver food and equipment to victims.
More than 30,000 people were taking shelter Saturday in 366 government shelters, according to the Ishikawa department. However, weather conditions there are expected to worsen from Sunday, with rain and heavy snowfall in some areas, and the Japanese meteorological agency also warns of the risk of hypothermia.
The most serious since the devastating Kumamoto earthquake
Further landslides are also feared due to rainfall on Sunday, and icy conditions are expected to further complicate traffic on roads damaged by the earthquake.
Due to poor road conditions, the Japan Self-Defense Forces sent a small group of foot soldiers to each of the isolated communities and deployed helicopters, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told NHK on Sunday.
“In parallel with these efforts, it is necessary to improve the accommodation and health conditions of the people affected by the catastrophe,” because this situation is expected to continue, Kishida added, estimating that “sustained and long-term efforts” would be necessary. necessary to rebuild devastated areas.
About 20,000 homes remained without power in Ishikawa on Sunday morning.
This earthquake is the first to kill more than 100 people in Japan since the devastating Kumamoto earthquake (southwest) that left 276 dead in 2016.
Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan is one of the countries with the most frequent earthquakes. The archipelago is haunted by the memory of the terrible 9.0 magnitude earthquake followed by a gigantic tsunami in March 2011 on its northeastern coast, a catastrophe that left some 20,000 people dead or missing.
This disaster also caused the Fukushima nuclear accident, the most serious since Chernobyl in 1986.