Repair work continues in quake-hit areas, as weather delivers another blow

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People cover the quake-damaged roof of a house in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Friday.

Residents affected by Wednesday’s powerful earthquake in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures had rain and snow to contend with on Friday morning, with some locals taking steps to cover the quake-damaged roofs of their homes.

The magnitude-7.4 quake that struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture late Wednesday night claimed the lives of three people. Some areas recorded seismic intensity as high as upper 6 on the Japanese scale — 7 is the highest level.

As of 10 a.m. on Friday, 210 injuries had been reported in Miyagi, Fukushima and 10 other prefectures, and 121 people were staying at evacuation centers in Fukushima Prefecture, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun tally.

By Friday morning, all sections had been reopened on the Joban Expressway, on which several cracks were found.

In the town of Shinchi, Fukushima Prefecture, a 45-year-old man was using plastic sheets to cover a roof from which tiles had fallen in the earthquake. The man, who runs a tatami shop in the nearby city of Soma, said tiles also fell when the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake hit the area.

“It’s a pain that I have to go through this all over again,” he said. “I’m relieved I got the roof covered before the rain got heavier.”

Tiles fell from many roofs in Soma and Minami-Soma, which both logged seismic intensity of upper 6 on the Japanese scale. Many houses in Minami-Soma had roofs covered with plastic sheets, which the local government had distributed to residents. Some buildings in the two prefectures were also damaged when a powerful quake struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture in February 2021.

The town of Zao, Miyagi Prefecture, recorded seismic intensity of upper 6 on the Japanese scale during Wednesday’s temblor and the earthquake last year.

A 64-year-old woman was using masking tape to cover cracks on the quake-damaged windows of her home. Her house sustained damage to its exterior walls and foundations in last year’s quake. “The repairs had just been finished after a year of waiting,” she said. “And now the rain has come, with the house in a condition that’s far from perfect. I need a break.”