Construction of Temporary Housing Units Begins in Ishikawa Pref.;175 Housing Units to be Built in Quake-Hit Areas

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A citizen affected by the earthquake applies for a temporary housing unit at the Wajima city government office in Ishikawa Prefecture on Friday morning.

Construction of 115 temporary housing units began on Friday in Wajima and Suzu in Ishikawa Prefecture, areas that were heavily affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake. In the towns of Noto and Anamizu in the prefecture, 60 temporary housing units are scheduled to start construction on Monday. Some of these units are expected to be completed as early as the end of this month. Simultaneously, the Ishikawa prefectural government is securing quasi-temporary housing by leasing private accommodations to expedite the establishment of living environments for those affected by the disaster.

People whose homes were destroyed or made uninhabitable are eligible to move into the temporary housing. The initial residency period is set for two years, but this can be extended depending on the progress of the reconstruction efforts.

Construction that began on Friday involves four locations: 30 units at a community plaza and 20 units at a multipurpose plaza in Wajima, as well as 25 units at one elementary school ground and 40 units at another in Suzu. Of these sites, the three excluding the community plaza in Wajima are in areas anticipated to be inundated by tsunami, according to the hazard maps of both cities.

Given the many mountainous areas and limited flat land in both cities, an official in charge at the Wajima city government said that they “have no choice but to select from a limited number of location options.”

Securing suitable land for the construction of temporary housing will be a significant challenge in the future.

As of Thursday, a total of 20,174 evacuees from the four cities and towns were sheltered in evacuation centers, some of which are overcrowded. To prevent disaster-related deaths, the prefectural government is accelerating the process of “secondary evacuation” by relocating residents to hotels and inns outside the affected areas. However, there are also people who do not want to leave their familiar surroundings, leading to many calls for the early construction of temporary housing.

People affected by the disaster flocked to the Wajima city government office on Friday morning to apply for temporary housing. A 68-year-old construction worker, whose house was destroyed and who is currently taking refuge with his family of four in a nearby community center, said, “We can maintain our connections with our neighbors if we can move into the housing.”

The death toll in Ishikawa Prefecture increased by two from the previous day to 215 as of 2 p.m. Friday. Of these, 14 are classified as disaster-related deaths. The number of people unaccounted for stood at 28.