Death toll rises to 100 in western Japan quakes

POLICE officers remove the debris from a fire at a market in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. A series of powerful quakes set off a large fire in the town of Wajima, as well as tsunamis and landslides in the region. / AP
POLICE officers remove the debris from a fire at a market in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. A series of powerful quakes set off a large fire in the town of Wajima, as well as tsunamis and landslides in the region. / AP

WAJIMA, Japan — Aftershocks threatened to bury more homes and block roads crucial for relief shipments, as the death toll from the earthquakes that rattled Japan’s western coastline last week reached 100 on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024.

Among the dead was a five-year-old boy who had been recovering from injuries after boiling water spilled on him during Monday’s 7.6 magnitude earthquake. His condition suddenly worsened and he died Friday, Jan. 5, according to Ishikawa prefecture, the hardest-hit region.

Officials warned that roads, already cracked from the dozens of earthquakes that continue to shake the area, could collapse completely. That risk was growing with rain and snow expected overnight and Sunday.

Reported deaths had reached 98 earlier Saturday, and two more deaths were reported in Anamizu city as officials were holding their daily meeting to discuss strategy and damages.

Wajima city has recorded the highest number of deaths with 59, followed by Suzu with 23. More than 500 people were injured, at least 27 of them seriously.

The temblors left roofs sitting haplessly on roads and everything beneath them crushed flat. Roads were warped like rubber. A fire turned a neighborhood in Wajima to ashes.

More than 200 people were still unaccounted for, although the number has fluctuated after shooting up two days ago. Eleven people were reported trapped under two homes that collapsed in Anamizu.

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