Japan’s Noto Peninsula Quake Death Toll Exceeds 200 (UPDATE 2)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rescue workers search a damaged house in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Tuesday.

The Noto Peninsula Earthquake death toll climbed to 202 on Tuesday, according to the Ishikawa prefectural government, as search efforts for those missing were able to get back on track after heavy snowfall subsided in the area.

The number of people whom Ishikawa prefectural authorities have not been able to contact was reduced to 102 as of Tuesday, as those previously believed to be missing have been accounted for.

The massive earthquake on New Year’s Day registered a maximum of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.

Of the 202 deaths confirmed as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, 91 were in Suzu, 81 were in Wajima, 20 were in Anamizu and five were in Nanao. The towns of Shika and Noto had two deaths each, while one death was confirmed in Hakui.

The Wajima municipal government said the newly confirmed deaths include a person who died while at an evacuation shelter, the first such case confirmed during this disaster. About 28,000 were still at evacuation shelters as of Tuesday.

In Wajima, about 150 police officers examined an area surrounding the Wajima Morning Market Street, where about 200 buildings burnt down by a fire that broke out after the Jan. 1 earthquake, while rescue workers and Self-Defense Forces members resumed the search around collapsed houses along the coast of Suzu on Tuesday.

Ishikawa Sports Center in Kanazawa is currently accepting evacuees who require special assistance, such as those who are elderly, disabled or pregnant. Only 15 took shelter at the facility on Monday when it started being used for that purpose, but efforts to transport evacuees with such needs came into full swing on Tuesday.

The Wajima municipal government, which temporarily stopped moving evacuees to the center on Monday as a result of the snow, said of the 14 who were expected to go to the facility, nine of them would be doing so with the help of the SDF and the remaining five would be doing so on their own.

Applying for certificates

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Residents talk to an official about the application for a disaster-victim certificate at the Suzu municipal government on Tuesday.

The Suzu municipal government started accepting applications for disaster-victim certificates, which allow victims to receive certain governmental support, such as being able to live in temporary housing.

A 46-year-old company employee visited the municipal government office because he lost his house in the disaster.

“Even if I apply [for the certificate], I still feel anxious,” he said. “However, I want to do whatever I can do now so that I can move forward, even if it’s just one small step.”

Seventeen municipalities in Ishikawa Prefecture, except Wajima and Anamizu, have set up special counters where people can submit their applications for disaster-victim certificates. In Noto, people were able to start applying at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, but officials asked residents to be understanding of delays in issuing certificates as the government would likely have to handle a large number of applications.

The Wajima and Anamizu governments said they do not yet know when they will be able to begin accepting applications.

As of Monday, 40 municipalities have expressed their intentions to provide a total of 1,200 public housing units for Noto Peninsula Earthquake evacuees, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.