Isolation of Quake-Hit Communities Effectively Ended; Demand for Temporary Emergency Housing Presents Challenge

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Self-Defense Force personnel rescue an elderly woman in an isolated community in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Friday.

KANAZAWA — The isolation of communities cut off by landslides and other damage in the wake of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake has effectively been ended thanks to the Self-Defense Forces’ evacuation assistance and the removal of sand and earth, the Ishikawa prefectural government said Friday.

Up to 3,345 people in 24 communities had been counted as isolated.

According to the prefectural government, that figure has decreased to 26 people in five communities. Nine of the people were soon to be evacuated and 17 intend to remain in the communities.

Meanwhile on Friday, SDF personnel transported 11 evacuees from Noto Airport in Wajima to Komatsu Airport in Komatsu, both in Ishikawa Prefecture, to help them move to secondary evacuation shelters such as hotel rooms. It was the first time an Air Self-Defense Force aircraft was used to help people evacuate in the wake of the massive earthquake that hit the peninsula on New Year’s Day.

About 14,000 people are staying at evacuation centers in the prefecture, and the prefectural government will focus its efforts on relocating evacuees to secondary evacuation sites.

Also on Friday, authorities started to assess the extent of damage to about 30,000 houses and buildings in Wajima. They also began to issue disaster certificates for houses and buildings that were obviously destroyed in the massive fire that occurred in the areas around the Wajima Morning Market street due to the earthquake.

The prefectural police said they would suspend searches for bodies in the fire-affected areas for the time being.

5,000 of housing applications

The number of applications for emergency temporary housing in Ishikawa Prefecture is expected to total at least 5,000, according to a tally by The Yomiuri Shimbun based on figures provided by each municipality.

As there is a limited amount of suitable flat land in the northern part of the peninsula, temporary housing construction has started for only about 340 households, including housing for 90 households that began on Saturday in Nanao and Anamizu.

The municipalities on the peninsula intend to speed up the search for land to build temporary housing for evacuees so they can move in as early as possible.