Noto Earthquake One Month On; Urgent Need for Accommodation for Restoration Workers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Debris removal work underway in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture on Wednesday morning.

Thursday marks one month since the Noto Peninsula Earthquake struck. In preparation of full-scale restoration work, Ishikawa Prefecture has decided to establish accommodations for construction workers in Nanao and other areas that lead to the Okunoto area, the northernmost part of the prefecture.

Restoration work is expected to last several years, and the prefecture intends to make the work more efficient by quickly creating facilities where those involved can stay near the most hard-hit areas.

Workers from both inside and outside the prefecture are currently gathering in Wajima, Suzu, Noto, and Anamizu in the Okunoto area to restore roads, repair water pipes and build emergency temporary housing. Debris removal work on roads began in Suzu on Monday so large construction vehicles can pass through. The same work also started in Wajima on Wednesday.

However, available accommodation in these towns and cities are limited, as many of them were damaged and essential services have yet to be restored. Some of the workers have had to drive for nearly five hours from Kanazawa, about 100 kilometers away, to get to the site.

In the Okunoto area, where there is little flat land, emergency temporary housing is being built on the limited number of suitable sites. Since more workers are expected to enter the area as the construction work gets underway, the prefectural government is planning to establish lodging and storage facilities for the workers in Nanao, where the restoration of the running water supply is progressing, and in Nakanoto, where the water outage has been resolved.

Ishikawa Prefectural Gov. Hiroshi Hase told reporters on Tuesday after inspecting an affected site, “We need to get support from construction workers nationwide, and we need prefabricated [accommodation] facilities.” The specific size and location of the accommodation is under consideration.

The earthquake caused major damage to main roads, including National Highway Route 249, which circles the Noto Peninsula and is expected to take several years to be fully restored, and prefectural roads are also closed due to landslides.

According to the prefectural government, breakwaters and quays were damaged at 60 fishing ports in the prefecture, including 38 in the Okunoto area. Fishing ports in Wajima and Suzu were severely damaged, with sections of the seabed exposed above the water due to ground upheaval.