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Japan quake toll spikes to 203

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Tokyo, Jan 10: The death toll from the devastating 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture on January 1, increased to 203 on Wednesday, with 68 people remaining unaccounted for, local authorities said.

The prefectural government on Wednesday confirmed seven disaster-related deaths, six in Suzu city and one in Noto town, national news agency Kyodo said in a report.

They were not killed by the quakes but passed away due to deteriorating injuries or illnesses caused by physical and mental strain in the aftermath of the disaster, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

In a breakdown of the death toll, 91 had been confirmed in Suzu, 81 in Wajima, 20 in Anamizu, five in Nanao, three in Noto, two in Shika and one in Hakui.

In the affected areas, there is a heightened focus on the risk assessment of building collapses, with continuous rainfall since Tuesday, raising concerns about the potential for secondary hazards such as landslides, prompting the prefectural authorities to issue warnings.

The atmosphere remains unstable due to the influence of pressure troughs and cold air aloft, increasing the possibility of ground loosening in the Noto region due to the cumulative effects of previous earthquakes and rain-induced snowmelt, Kyodo reported citing the regional meteorological observatory of Kanazawa.

As per the prefectural authorities, over 26,000 people are taking shelter in evacuation centres, amid surging spreading risks of infectious diseases such as Covid-19 and influenza.

Approximately 3,100 individuals, meanwhile, remain isolated due to road disruptions.

In response to the confusion triggered by sudden changes in the number of individuals whose whereabouts are unknown, local authorities said that the number is constantly updated by integrating information collected through different channels.

IANS

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