Rain Brings Landslide Warnings in Quake-Affected Areas; Firefighters Continue Search for Missing, Trapped

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A man walks at the site of the Wajima Morning Market in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Wednesday.

WAJIMA, Ishikawa — Police and firefighters continued to search for missing people on Wednesday after the massive earthquake that struck the Noto region in Ishikawa Prefecture, focusing on sites where houses and buildings had collapsed.

Firefighters from Osaka Prefecture drove around residential areas in five fire engines in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, looking for missing people and gathering information on missing people and those who were waiting to be rescued.

After the earthquake, a huge fire broke out in the center of Wajima, home to the famous Wajima Morning Market. Thirty-one people are confirmed to have died.

Strong rains hit the city early on Wednesday, and a heavy rain warning was issued just past 4 a.m. In the Fugeshimachi-Inarimachi district of the city, where many houses had been destroyed, about 10 firefighters searched the residential area, while carefully assessing the possibility that structures could collapse.

“I was asked about people who were living in collapsed houses,” an elderly man living in the area said. “But I have no idea where they are.”

Several vans carrying search and rescue dogs gathered in the city hall of Suzu, whose coastal area was hit by tsunami. Outside the vehicles, staffers from the Rescue Dog Trainers’ Association headquartered in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, prepared for search operations, making sure to protect themselves from the cold weather.

Slightly heavy rains with thunder are expected through Thursday morning in Ishikawa Prefecture, with the possibility of wind gusts and hail.

The Kanazawa Local Meteorological Office is warning that even limited rainfall could cause landslides because the ground has loosened due to a series of strong tremors.