The death toll from the earthquake that struck central Japan last Monday has risen to 78, and is likely to continue increasing in light of difficulties in search and rescue operations due to collapsed buildings.
The 7.6 magnitude earthquake caused major damage and fires in Ishikawa Prefecture, where continued aftershocks and rubble on the roads hampered rescue operations.
Many people are believed to be still trapped under the rubble in the hard-hit coastal city of Wajima, while fears are growing that rainy weather could lead to landslides in areas affected by the quake
About 33,000 people remained in Ishikawa in evacuation centers, while at least 200 buildings collapsed, and thousands of rescuers are trying to save people trapped under the rubble, amid temperatures reaching freezing and heavy rain; Yet, the blocked roads and the remoteness of the most affected areas make it difficult.
Japan is located at the meeting point of four tectonic plates, making it particularly vulnerable to seismic activity. It is also home to 100 active volcanoes.
In 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan and triggered a tsunami, killing more than 15,000 people, and causing a disaster at Fukushima nuclear plant. (QNA)
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