Wajima Finally Welcomes Volunteers More Than a Month After Devastating Quake; About 40 People Participated in the Effort to Support Victims

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Volunteers are briefed after arriving in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.

WAJIMA, Ishikawa — Volunteers were finally allowed to start working in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday, more than a month after the Jan. 1 earthquake devastated the city and its nearby areas on the Noto Peninsula.

Wajima became the last of the four municipalities in the Okunoto region — or the area on the northern tip of the peninsula — that has welcomed members of the public from across the nation as volunteers.

About 40 people participated in a program initiated by the prefectural government. They arrived in Wajima at around 11 a.m. after departing from Kanazawa aboard a bus earlier that morning. Some helped clean ryokan inns in the central part of Wajima, while others helped sorting out supplies delivered from across the nation.

Volunteers, however, had to come back to Kanazawa the same day, as there are few facilities in and around the city that can accommodate them. Local roads are still severely damaged, which means that they could only work for three hours in Wajima.

“I want to help elderly residents who have difficulties to clean up on their own,” said one volunteer, a vocational school student from Hyogo Prefecture.