At around 8:20pm on Saturday, a woman in her 90s was rescued from a two-story house in Suzu city, Ishikawa Prefecture, more than five days after the devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake on January 1. Stuck between furniture, she was heard moaning faintly. It then reportedly took several hours to pull her out. An intravenous drip was administered to help her regain her physical strength. The doctor who treated her the next day, said she sustained leg injuries, but was well enough to chat.

The first three days of a rescue operation following a disaster are considered critical. This is known as the “golden period,” after which, the chances of finding people alive drops dramatically. “Sometimes people can survive even after 72 hours if a small amount of water and a certain body temperature are secured,” said Dr. Mototaka Inaba, 44, a member of the nonprofit organization Peace Winds Japan. He speculated that the lady may have drunk rainwater while she was trapped.

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More Than 100 Still Missing

The woman’s rescue gives family members of people still missing a glimmer of hope. At the time of writing, more than 100 remain unaccounted for in Ishikawa Prefecture. A large-scale search operation is being carried out on Tuesday at a major marketplace where many people are still believed to be trapped under rubble. Weather conditions, however, are making things difficult. Heavy snow — 13 centimeters accumulated in Suzu city — could lead to damaged buildings collapsing, and, along with the rain, increases the risk of further landslides.

The death toll from the earthquake has risen above 200. As of Tuesday afternoon, 202 people were confirmed dead. Another 565 have reported injuries, while 1,390 homes have been destroyed or seriously damaged. More than 2,000 people remain cut off because of severed roads. The earthquake struck Ishikawa Prefecture’s Noto Peninsula at approximately 4:10pm on New Year’s Day. Over 1,200 tremors have been recorded since then. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the area is likely to experience powerful aftershocks for about a month.

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