Rescuers in Japan are urgently working to locate 242 individuals who are currently unaccounted for following a destructive earthquake that occurred on New Year’s Day.
The 72-hour period to locate survivors after the earthquake ended on Thursday evening.
By Friday, the number of fatalities resulting from the powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake in the isolated Noto peninsula had reached 92.
According to a report from the Kyodo news agency, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have increased the number of troops involved in rescue and relief efforts to 4,600.
There are reports of individuals who may be trapped under their collapsed homes, particularly in the towns of Suzu and Wajima. The wooden structures were not designed to withstand the frequent and powerful earthquakes that often strike the country.
Many residents are currently experiencing power and water outages, with a significant number still unable to access assistance due to landslides and road closures.
“We will persevere,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated resolutely following a meeting with disaster response officials on Friday.
Mr Kishida emphasised the importance of thorough efforts by rescue and relief workers to reach the affected communities.
“Our main obstacle lies in gaining access.” According to Musubi Yata from the Japanese Red Cross Society, reaching the most affected areas is a challenging task due to road obstacles like rocks and landslides triggered by rain and aftershocks.
“During the occurrence of aftershocks, certain medical activities had to be halted and abandoned due to the potential risk of road collapse,” she informed the BBC.
An earthquake that occurred on Monday evening resulted in a small tsunami, which caused flooding on approximately 296 acres (120 ha) of land, as reported by Japan’s land ministry.
Japan has announced its plan to allocate 4.74 billion yen ($34m; £27m) from budget reserves to provide aid to the victims.
Photos shared by the Japan Ground Self Defence Force depicted troops efficiently loading essential supplies onto a convoy of trucks. Additionally, troops are working diligently to remove mud and debris from roads affected by landslides.
In a different image, soldiers were seen transporting a survivor on a stretcher along a trail covered in snow.
During a recent visit to Wajima, the BBC witnessed the devastating aftermath of extensive destruction. Homes and vehicles were tragically crushed under crumbling concrete, leaving a scene of utter devastation. Several of the town’s historic wooden homes had crumbled.
The town, with a population of 23,000, now appears deserted as the majority of residents heeded the early evacuation warnings in anticipation of the predicted tsunamis.