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94 die in Japan earthquake

Hampered by bad weather and damaged roads, Japanese rescuers searched on Friday for 222 people still missing four days after a devastating earthquake as the death toll approached 100.

Two elderly women were pulled from the rubble on Thursday, but hopes of finding other survivors after the 7.5 magnitude quake on New Year’s Day were fading with rain, snow and falling temperatures forecast in the coming days.

Thousands of rescuers from all over Japan have been battling aftershocks and roads littered with gaping holes and blocked by frequent landslides in the central Ishikawa region to reach hundreds of people in stranded communities.

On Thursday afternoon, 72 hours after the quake, the two older women were miraculously pulled alive from the remains of their homes in Wajima, one of them thanks to a sniffer dog.

The port city of Wajima on the Noto Peninsula was one of the worst hit, with a pungent smell of soot still in the air and faint columns of smoke visible from a huge fire that destroyed hundreds of structures on the first day.

“I was relaxing on New Year’s Day when the quake happened. My relatives were all there and we were having fun,” Hiroyuki Hamatani, 53, told AFP amid the burnt-out cars, wrecked buildings and fallen telegraph poles.

“The house itself is standing but it’s far from livable now… I don’t have the space in my mind to think about the future,” he told AFP.

Source: PUNCH

In other news-New Passport fees gazetted

The new passport fees of US$150 for an ordinary passport and US$250 for an emergency passport have been gazetted and so have come into operation. The rise in fees from the previous US$120 was announced in the national budget by Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment.

Zimbabwe passport offices

Promotion Mthuli Ncube, but after Parliamentary debate the proposed fee was reduced from US$200 to US$150.
The legal fixing of the fee was done in Statutory Instrument 1 of 2024 by Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Ziyambi Ziyambi in terms of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act. Read more

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