Volunteer Work Begins in Kanazawa; Over 10,000 People Register to Support Quake-Hit Areas

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
A volunteer cleans a doorknob at Ishikawa Sports Center in Kanazawa on Wednesday.

KANAZAWA — Volunteers recruited by the Ishikawa prefectural government began providing support at an evacuation center in Kanazawa on Wednesday for the first time since the Noto Peninsula Earthquake hit the prefecture on Jan. 1.

Although the prefecture still does not allow volunteers to work at severely-hit areas due to issues such as the road conditions, more than 10,000 people have already registered, waiting to give a helping hand to the people affected by the disaster.

Gov. Hiroshi Hase said Wednesday, “We want to have a picture within a week of where to dispatch volunteers.”

On the day, 28 volunteers — including citizens of Kanazawa and the prefecture’s disaster volunteer association staff — cleaned up and collected garbage at Ishikawa Sports Center, which is temporarily accepting evacuees in need of additional support such as the elderly and pregnant women.

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
A volunteer mops the floor at Ishikawa Sports Center in Kanazawa on Wednesday.

“Activities at severely-hit areas are restricted for now, so we want to help people who are affected [through supporting evacuation centers],” the association’s chairman said.

Ishikawa Prefecture has been enlisting people in Kanazawa to support the 250 people who currently shelter at the sports center since Monday. It has also rounded up volunteers to clean damaged houses since Jan. 6. As of Wednesday, about 10,300 people from both inside and outside the prefecture have registered with the local government.

It plans to expand the scope of volunteer activities to a gymnasium in Komatsu, which opened as an evacuation center for evacuees in need of assistance on Thursday, and also to secondary evacuation centers such as hotels. The prefecture will check with Wajima, Suzu and other severely-affected areas and send volunteers whenever the municipalities are ready.