Volunteers Begin Cleaning Up in Suzu; Help Coming from Outside

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Volunteers listen to the Suzu mayor after arriving in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.

SUZU, Ishikawa — Volunteers began their work on Saturday in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, where the damage was so severe that the area had not previously been able to accept outside assistance. About 20 volunteers recruited by the prefectural government worked hard with locals to clear away damaged household items

Shortly before 7 a.m. on Saturday, volunteers boarded a bus bound for Suzu at Kanazawa Station in Kanazawa.

“When I found out about the situation in my beloved Suzu, I couldn’t stand idly by,” said Kazumi Yoshida, a 48-year-old woman from Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, among the volunteers. She said she often went to Suzu for sightseeing. “I want to help the recovery here as much as possible.”

The Suzu city council of social welfare, which operates a volunteer reception desk, expressed gratitude for the goodwill of everyone involved. An official at the council said, “There are many people in need, so we want to expand the number of supporters we can bring in.”

As of Friday, about 20,000 people had applied to Ishikawa Prefecture and pre-registered as volunteers. Volunteers have already started working in Nanao, Anamizu and Shika. The municipality of Wajima, which is not yet ready to accept volunteers due to the severe damage, is also expected to begin accepting them in the coming days.