Japan: 90-year-old found alive five days after earthquake, 195 people still missing

A nonagenarian was able to be pulled out alive from the rubble in the debris of her collapsed house in Suzu, at the tip of the peninsula, five days after the earthquake which left at least 128 dead in central Japan

Japan: 90-year-old found alive five days after earthquake, 195 people still missing

A nonagenarian was able to be pulled out alive from the rubble in the debris of her collapsed house in Suzu, at the tip of the peninsula, five days after the earthquake which left at least 128 dead in central Japan. She was conscious and could answer questions clearly when she was rescued and taken to hospital for treatment, public broadcaster NHK reported. " Hold fast ! “, rescuers shouted to him in the rain, in a video shot by the police and broadcast by local media. " Everything's gonna Be Alright ! ”, “stay positive”.

The 7.5 magnitude earthquake that devastated the Noto Peninsula on January 1, along the Sea of ​​Japan, on the western coast of the archipelago, also left 560 injured, and 195 people remain missing, according to a new report announced Sunday afternoon by local authorities.

In the town of Anamizu, also on the peninsula, a 52-year-old man who learned of the deaths of his 21-year-old son and his in-laws was waiting for news of other family members. “I want them to be alive. It is unthinkable that I will be left alone,” he told NHK. Elsewhere in the city, an Agence France-Presse photographer saw rescuers dressed in orange and blue raincoats carrying the body of a landslide victim, covered with a blue tarpaulin.

Rain and snowfall expected

The earthquake, followed by hundreds of aftershocks, caused the collapse of buildings and roads, a thousand landslides and fires, particularly in Wajima, where authorities believe many residents are still under the rubble. The tremor, felt as far away as Tokyo, 300 kilometers away, also triggered a tsunami, with waves more than a meter high.

Rescuers are continuing their efforts to search for people still missing or isolated due to roads damaged by the earthquake, and to deliver food and equipment to the victims. More than 30,000 people were sheltering in 366 government shelters on Saturday, according to the Ishikawa department.

However, the weather conditions are expected to deteriorate there from Sunday, with rain and heavy snow expected in places, with the Japanese weather agency also warning of the risks of hypothermia. New landslides due to precipitation are also feared on Sunday, and icy conditions are expected to further make traffic difficult on roads damaged by the earthquake.

20,000 homes still without electricity

Due to poor road conditions, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces sent a small group of soldiers on foot to each of the isolated communities and deployed helicopters, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Sunday.

“In parallel with these efforts, it is necessary to improve the accommodation and health conditions of people affected by the disaster”, because this situation is expected to prolong, added Mr. Kishida, estimating that “sustained efforts and long-term” would be necessary to rebuild devastated areas. Some 20,000 homes remained without electricity in Ishikawa on Sunday morning.

This earthquake is the first to cause the death of more than a hundred people in Japan since the devastating Kumamoto earthquake which 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 giant tsunami in March 2011 on its northeastern coasts, a disaster which left some 20,000 dead and missing. This disaster also led to the Fukushima nuclear accident, the most serious since Chernobyl in 1986.