Good news is scarce in Japan after the powerful earthquake that hit the center of the country on New Year’s Day. Two elderly women were able to be pulled alive from the rubble, but the truth is that hopes of finding other survivors are dwindling after the expiration of the 72-hour deadline, considered crucial for saving lives after a natural disaster.

At least 92 people are dead and 242 others are missing according to a new provisional report announced Friday January 5 morning by the department of Ishikawa, where the Noto peninsula is located, this thin strip of land which juts out about a hundred kilometers in the Sea of ​​Japan, shaken Monday by a 7.5 magnitude tremor, felt as far away as Tokyo, 300 km away.

At least 330 people were also injured in the earthquake and the hundreds of aftershocks that followed. A tsunami also hit the coast, and waves more than a meter high swept away the quays, homes and seaside roads. Rescuers continue their searches in the midst of winter weather that does not not helping, with snow expected in place on Sunday.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday called this earthquake “the most serious disaster” of the Japanese Reiwa era, which began in 2019 with the accession to the throne of Japanese Emperor Naruhito.

Pungent odor

Several hundred people whose homes were destroyed are still housed in evacuation centers. Nearly 30,000 homes were still without electricity on Friday morning in the Ishikawa department, and around 90,000 homes did not have access to running water in Ishikawa and in the Toyama and Niigata departments, located more to the north on the coast of the Sea of ​​Japan.

The port town of Wajima on the Noto Peninsula was one of the worst hit, and a pungent smell still hangs there, while faint columns of smoke are still visible after the massive fire that destroyed hundreds of buildings following the earthquake.

“I was relaxing on New Year’s Day when the earthquake happened. My relatives were all there and we were having fun,” Hiroyuki Hamatani, 53, told Agence France-Presse, amid charred cars, destroyed buildings and fallen telegraph poles. “I don’t have room in my mind to think about the future. Everything is scattered in my house. Other aftershocks could cause it to collapse, so I can’t go back right away,” he added.

In Suzu, at the tip of the peninsula, mainly fishing boats were sunk or literally washed ashore by the tsunami waves, which also reportedly swept away a person.