A woman in her 80s has been rescued from the ruins of her collapsed home three days after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Japan.
The elderly resident had been trapped on the first floor of the two-storey house in Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture and was rescued around 4.30pm on Thursday (7.30am UK time).
She was placed on a stretcher and taken to hospital in the city, according to the fire department. She is reportedly conscious and in a stable condition.
At least 94 people have been killed and 222 people are reported missing following Monday’s quake, as dozens of aftershocks have rocked the region this week.
In a video, rescue workers wearing helmets could be heard calling out to the woman, saying “You did your best, mother,” and “You’re going to be OK.” She responded to the rescue team’s encouragement, according to local media.
Another elderly resident was found alive and rescued on Wednesday in Suzu, as his daughter cried out to him: “Dad, dad.”
So far 156 people have been rescued, according to authorities. About 33,000 have been forced to leave their homes.
The first 72 hours after an earthquake are especially critical, according to experts, and the prospects for survival greatly diminish after three days.
According to Japanese officials, 55 deaths were reported in Wajima, 23 in Suzu, with others in five neighbouring towns.
More than 460 people have been injured, with at least 24 of them in serious condition.
Thousands of military personnel, firefighters and dog units joined the effort to reach the hardest-hit spots on the Noto Peninsula – the centre of the quake – urgently sifting through rubble to find potential survivors.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said: “We must continue putting all of our efforts into rescuing people, even beyond 72 hours after the disaster.”
Some areas are inaccessible due to the destruction, as concerns mount over supplies such as food and water which are yet to reach certain communities.
Japan is to approve the use of its reserved funds to cover the damages, estimated at double the two billion yen (£10.8m) deployed in each of similar previous disasters, from earthquakes to heavy rains, Mr Kishida said.
The US announced a $100,000 (£79,000) aid package including blankets and medical supplies, and promised more help would follow.
For the tens of thousands who lost their homes, many of whom are elderly, experts warned that disease could spread and deaths were possible at the evacuation centres sheltering them.
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‘A terrible, cold place’
Masashi Tomari, a 67-year-old oyster farmer from Ishikawa, said it was tough sleeping on the floor with just one blanket.
“This is a terrible, cold place,” he said.
There was no heating until two stoves finally arrived three days after the initial tremors.
Others have lost everything, including their businesses.
Sachiko Kato put up a yellow notice as a warning inside her clothes shop where the walls are slanted and a red one for the shed in the back that was completely flattened.
“So many stores were on this street. Now, they’re all gone. Maybe we can work hard to rebuild,” she said.
Heavy rainfall and snow is forecast leading to worries about landslides, which could further damage what is left of homes and commercial properties.
Experts have also warned of further aftershocks.