"More than 40 hours have passed since the disaster. We have received a lot of information about people in need of rescue and there are people waiting for help," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said after an emergency task force meeting, following the devastating earthquake hit japan on january 1, 2024.
More than 31,800 people are in shelters, the government said. "Local authorities, police, firefighters and other operational units are carrying out rescue efforts, while the number of personnel and rescue dogs is increasing.
However, we ask you to remain fully aware that we are in a race against time and to continue to do everything we can to save lives, putting people's lives first," the Prime Minister added.
The damage in Japan is catastrophic
In Suzu, about 90 percent of homes were completely or partially destroyed, Mayor Masuhiro Izumiya told the national Kyodo news agency.
In cities like Wajima, Noto or Suzu, all close to the epicenter of the earthquake, municipalities are still trying to quantify the buildings and structures that collapsed. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the army had sent 1,000 soldiers to the disaster-hit areas.
"Saving lives is our priority and we are fighting a battle against time.
It is vital that people trapped in houses are rescued immediately," he explained. The authorities have invited the population to stay away from homes located in the areas due to the risk of further earthquakes. People evacuated from their homes gathered in auditoriums, schools and community centers.
According to Japanese media reports, tens of thousands of homes were destroyed. Water, electricity and telephone service in some areas are still interrupted. "The government asks the Japanese people to be on alert because there may be earthquakes for about a week with an intensity scale of up to seven.
In areas where the tremor was strong, people are asked to seek information on evacuation through the local offices, on TV, radio and the Internet and to act accordingly," said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi's chief of staff.