SDF Evacuate 122 Residents from Japan’s Isolated Communities; Residents Cut Off Since Powerful Jan. 1 Quake

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Residents rescued from mountainous communities in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, sit on a bus taking them to an evacuation shelter on Thursday.

WAJIMA, Ishikawa — Self-Defense Forces evacuated all 122 residents via helicopters on Thursday from two mountainous communities in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, that had been cut off since the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

The communities were near a river that had been blocked by landslides triggered by the powerful Jan. 1 earthquake, and the plan to evacuate the residents, many of whom are elderly, was accelerated due to a thunderstorm forecast for the region this weekend.

After getting off the SDF helicopters elsewhere in Wajima, the residents traveled on specially arranged buses to evacuation shelters. Some residents who felt unwell were taken to a hospital.

An 87-year-old woman, who had been staying in her car since the disaster, had run out of medicine for her lower-back pain and been unable to sleep well due to the discomfort.

“It was scary,” said the woman in a feeble voice. “I want to stretch out my legs and lie down in someplace warm.”