On New Year’s Day, Japan was hit with a massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake that has left thousands of citizens without a home. The earthquake hit the western coast of Japan, and at least 168 people have died with dozens still missing, according to reports from the Associated Press.
Thousands of troops, police, and firefighters have traveled to join the rescue efforts on the coast of the country to go through collapsed buildings in hopes of finding survivors.
The danger is unfortunately still present for Japan, however, with authorities warning citizens of potential landslides, which there is an increased risk of due to heavy snowfall around the epicenter of the earthquake located on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture.
AP reported that the death tolls included 70 people in Wajima, 70 in Suzu, and 18 in Anamizu, the remaining deaths were among other surrounding towns. At least 323 people are still unaccounted for, with 565 people being treated for injuries. Around 1,390 homes were either seriously damaged, or completely destroyed.
After the initial earthquake, Japan was also hit with a tsunami which added to the damage, and aftershocks have been continuous daily.
Meteorological officials in Japan also warned that strong earthquakes could persist for up to another month. Recovery efforts have barely begun for residents due to the ongoing aftershocks.
Wajima, a tourist town that is known for its retail shopping street, had a lot of its parts destroyed due to fires that erupted from the earthquake.
Around 30,000 people are currently staying in schools, auditoriums, and other evacuation centers throughout the area. However, many officials are worried about the additional risk of Covid-19 and other illnesses spreading within these centers.
Shelters are struggling with the influx of struggling citizens who need shelter, food, water, and overall safety. People are sleeping on cold floors, and were initially only able to have a piece of bread and a cup of water a day. More aid is helping the centers and are actively working to get to those who need help to offer hot food and additional sleeping options.
Soldiers have been able to set up some temporary bathing facilities with hot water for citizens who have been without for days. More stoves, clothing, bedding, food, water, and more are on the way to these evacuation centers, and rescue efforts are still ongoing.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.