161 Killed, 103 Missing in Japan’s Quake-Hit Ishikawa Prefecture

Tokyo: The death toll from Japan’s earthquake has jumped to 161 from 128 overnight, authorities said Monday as snow complicated rescue efforts. The number of people unaccounted for fell to 103 from 195.

A heavy dumping of snow meanwhile complicated relief efforts a week after the 7.5-magnitude quake, with more than 2,000 people still cut off and many others lacking power or forced to take shelter in crowded emergency sites.

Thousands of rescuers have been drafted in from all over Japan, their work complicated by roads being cut off by the quake and an estimated 1,000 landslides. In the last two days, the region has been blanketed in snow, making the operation harder still.

The colder weather is also likely to worsen conditions for more than 28,800 people in 404 government shelters. Continuous rain has increased the risk of fresh landslides, while heavy snow could cause more buildings to collapse under its weight, the regional government warned.

At least 2,000 people in many communities on the remote peninsula have been cut off by damaged roads, with some of an estimated 1,000 landslides also blocking aid vehicles. That means relief materials have been slow to reach areas suffering water and power outages.

Around 20,700 households in the wider Ishikawa region remained without electricity on Sunday. More than 66,100 households were without water.

Sunil Kumar Dhangadamajhi

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