Pressing his gloved hands together and bowing his head, Seiji Yoshimura, helmeted and sporting a bright orange jacket over his jumpsuit, offers a silent prayer toward a crushed home from which he helped recover the body of an elderly woman. She was among the now 215 casualties of the giant earthquake that rocked the Noto Peninsula in central Japan at 4:10 p.m. on Jan. 1.

The wooden structure’s roof tiles are cracked and strewn about; splintered beams and scattered furniture accumulate snow as the temperature falls, foreshadowing further complications in relief and rescue efforts in the coming days and weeks.

What the woman was doing when disaster struck is unknown — perhaps she was watching New Year’s Day variety programs on television, or chatting with family over traditional dishes prepared for the holiday.