Death Toll from Quake in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture Hits 84; Searches Continue With Dozens Still Missing (UPDATE 2)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police officers and others search among collapsed buildings in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Thursday morning.

The death toll in Ishikawa Prefecture from the Noto Peninsula Earthquake has reached 84, the prefectural government announced Thursday.

Dozens of people are still unaccounted for, the government said.

Many people are believed to have been trapped under collapsed buildings after the massive earthquake registering a maximum intensity of 7 on the Japanese seismic scale. The survival rate is said to fall sharply after 72 hours, a point the area was to reach on Thursday evening, and members of the Self-Defense Forces, police, fire department and others did their utmost to locate people on the day.

The Japan Coast Guard conducted a search with one aircraft and one patrol vessel off the coast of Suzu in the prefecture Thursday morning, following a report that people had been swept away by tsunami after the earthquake.

The Wajima city government said it had received 40 to 50 reports of people trapped under collapsed buildings, and the number of missing people was expected to increase.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, 223 houses had been destroyed or damaged in Ishikawa, Toyama and Niigata prefectures.

The water supply was cut off to 82,588 households in Ishikawa Prefecture. A total of 13,932 households in Toyama and Niigata prefectures also had no running water.

Local roads remained blocked or closed due to the earthquake. According to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, 10 sections of the Noetsu Expressway connecting Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, and Tonami, Toyama Prefecture, were closed to traffic as of 5 a.m. Thursday due to collapsed roads and other factors.

Thirty sections of four national highways and 50 sections of prefectural and other roads were closed to traffic in Ishikawa, Toyama, and Niigata prefectures.

Rainfall heavy enough to bring a warning from authorities may fall in Ishikawa Prefecture from Friday to Saturday. The Japan Meteorological Agency is urging caution regarding possible landslides, as the ground was loosened by the earthquake.