SA offers condolences to Japan following quake

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South Africa has offered its condolences to Japan following a series of deadly earthquakes experienced in the country’s west coast region.

The 7.6 magnitude earthquake has led to extensive loss of life and rising number of severe injuries in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor says the government and people of South Africa’s prayers are with the Japanese government and the people, particularly the families who have lost their loved ones, in the wake of this tragedy.

She further commended the tireless efforts of the rescue and emergency personnel participating in the ongoing rescue operation.

Around 1 000 rescuers are searching for people believed to be trapped beneath the rubble.

Meanwhile, authorities say the death toll rose to 62 on Wednesday as authorities rushed to bring aid to survivors facing freezing temperatures and heavy rain forecast for later in the day.

Heavy rains were forecast in the quake-hit areas on Wednesday, raising fears of landslides, authorities said.

Severed roads, damaged infrastructure, and the remote location of the hardest-hit areas have complicated rescue efforts and the full extent of damage and casualties remains unclear two days after the quake.

Authorities confirmed 62 deaths so far, up from 55 late on Tuesday.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed his government to ensure survivors have access to basic amenities including electricity and water.

“Please do everything in your power to rescue as many people as possible, while keeping in mind that this is also a battle against time,” Kishida said during a disaster response meeting.

He said survivors may be unable to return home for some time. – Additional reporting by Reuters