Japan quake toll spikes to 161

International |  IANS  | Published :

Tokyo, Jan 8 (IANS) The death toll from a devastating 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan's Ishikawa prefecture on January 1, increased to 161 as of Monday, local authorities said.

Meanwhile, efforts on underway to find at least 103 people who are currently unaccounted for, Xinhua news agency.

Of the deaths, 70 have been confirmed in both Wajima and Suzu cities, 11 in Anamizu Town, five in Nanao City, two each in the towns of Noto and Shika, and one in Hakui City, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

A total of 565 people were also injured as a result of the massive temblor and the continued aftershocks.

Bad weather however, is hampering rescuers, with heavy rain and snow triggering warnings of landslides and building collapses.

A cold air mass has been bringing snow to Ishikawa prefecture and other parts of the Hokuriku region as well as Niigata prefecture, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

As of 6 a.m. on Monday, snow accumulation in Ishikawa prefecture had reached 13 cm in Suzu, 11 cm in Nanao and 9 cm in Wajima.

The weather agency urged people in the disaster-hit areas to take extra caution with quake-damaged buildings that could collapse under the weight of the snow and to stay warm to prevent hypothermia amid severe cold.

More than 2,000 people were reportedly still cut off due to massive damage to roads, while several others are living in emergency shelters.

The Japanese military has been handing out supplies including food, water and blankets for those who have had to vacate their homes.

In a statement on Sunday, the Defence Ministry said that it had sent nearly 6,000 troops out to help with the relief mission.

Since the January 1 temblor, more than 1,200 tremors have been recorded in the region until Monday, according to NHK.

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