Resilience and Recovery: Noto Airport Reopens, Volunteer Efforts Intensify after Noto Peninsula Earthquake (UPDATE1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Passengers board a plane bound for Noto Airport at Haneda Airport on Saturday.

Commercial flight operations resumed at Noto Airport in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday. Restoration work on the airport, which had been damaged by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on New Year’s Day, was completed, allowing the first flight from Haneda Airport to arrive. Sixty two passengers boarded an All Nippon Airways special flight at 10:30 a.m., with the flight carrying individuals returning to their hometowns and volunteers heading to the disaster areas to assist victims. Volunteers recruited by Ishikawa Prefecture began activities on Saturday in Nanao, Anamizu and Shika, which all suffered severe damage. Efforts to rebuild livelihoods in affected areas have begun in earnest.

According to Ishikawa Prefecture, cracks more than 10 meters in length and “steps” about 10 centimeters high were found on the Noto Airport runway. The airport was temporarily restored on Jan. 11 and used for only Self Defense Forces aircraft. For now, All Nippon Airways will operate a single round trip per day, three days a week. Measures were also taken for the Noto Airport terminal building, such as covering dangerous areas after it experienced exteriors walls falling off and other issues. Due to water outage, the restaurants and other businesses will be closed for the time being. Nine people have been evacuated to the airport, which will continue to be used as an evacuation center after reopening.

On the other hand, volunteers who registered with the prefectural government departed from the prefectural office on Saturday morning. Taking separate buses, 17 people headed to Nanao, 43 people to Shika, and 15 people to Anamizu. They are tasked with cleaning up and transporting disaster debris from damaged houses.

The severely damaged cities of Wajima and Suzu currently have no prospect of accepting volunteers.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Damages to the ground are seen at Noto Airport in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture on Jan.2