The death toll from the earthquake in western Japan has risen to 126

The tremors threatened to bury more homes and block roads critical to the delivery of relief supplies. An earthquake struck off the west coast of Japan It rose to 126 on Saturday last week.

A 5-year-old boy was also among the dead. 7.6 magnitude earthquake on Monday. Ishikawa Prefecture, the hardest-hit region, said his condition suddenly worsened and he died on Friday.

Officials warned that roads already cracked by the dozens of earthquakes that continue to rock the region could collapse completely. That risk is increasing with rain and snow expected overnight and into Sunday.

The death toll rose to 126 on Saturday. Most deaths were reported in Wajima city 69, followed by Suzu with 38. More than 500 people were injured, at least 27 of them critically.

Earth tremors caused roofs to sit effortlessly on roads and everything below them was crushed flat. The roads were disintegrated like rubber. A fire reduced Wajima's neighborhood to ashes.

Although the number fluctuates, more than 200 have yet to be found. 11 people are reported to be trapped under two collapsed houses in Anamisu.

A 90-year-old woman was rescued alive from the rubble of a collapsed house in western Japan on Saturday evening. The woman in Ishikawa Prefecture's Sushu city survived more than five days after Monday's earthquake. Nationally broadcast news footage showed helmeted rescue workers covering the area with blue plastic, but the woman was not visible.

Damaged buildings are seen in Wajima, on the Noto Peninsula facing the Sea of ​​Japan, northwest of Tokyo, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, following Monday's devastating earthquake.

Hiro Kome / AB

Shiro Kokuta, 76, said the house in Wajima where he grew up was spared, but a nearby temple was engulfed in flames, and he was still searching for friends in evacuation centers.

“It was very difficult,” he said.

Japan has one of the fastest aging societies in the world. The population of Ishikawa and nearby areas has declined over the years. A fragile economy centered on handicrafts and tourism is now more affected than ever.

In an unusual gesture from nearby North Korea, leader Kim Jong Un sent a message of condolence to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Saturday.

Japan earlier received messages from President Joe Biden and other allies expressing sympathy and promises of help.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters that Japan is grateful for all the news, including the news from North Korea. Hayashi said that in 1995, Japan received a condolence message from North Korea.

Along Japan's coast, power was gradually restored, but water supplies were still limited. Emergency drinking water systems were also damaged.

Thousands of troops flew in water, food and medicine to more than 30,000 people evacuated to auditoriums, schools and other facilities.

The nationally circulated Yomiuri newspaper said its aerial survey found more than 100 landslides in the area, blocking some lifelines.

Rescue operations intensified as days passed. But some clung to life, trapped under pillars and walls, and freed.

“I hope the city recovers and people don't leave,” said seafood vendor Seizo Shinbo, who was stocking up on noodles, canned goods and rice balls at the supermarket.

“No food. No water. And worse, gas. People are still standing in kilometer-long queues.”

Ambulances move through rocks and landslides on a road in Wajima, on the Noto Peninsula facing the Sea of ​​Japan, northwest of Tokyo, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, following Monday's devastating earthquake.

Hiro Kome / AB

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