News in Pictures / Earthquake-hit Noto Prepares for Rainy Season, Hot Summer; Local Govts Try to Patch Leaky Homes, Keep Food Cool

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Blue tarps are seen on the roofs of many houses in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Thursday.

Saturday marked five months since the Noto Peninsula Earthquake struck Ishikawa Prefecture on New Year’s Day.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A section of National Highway Route 249 built on uplifted seafloor after a landslide caused by the earthquake blocked the road in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture

A sports event for elementary and junior high school students was held on the day in the prefecture’s city of Suzu, which was battered by the quake. Since schoolyards and community land are being converted to sites for temporary housing, the event was planned so children could play outdoors. Family members cheered as students ran in a relay or raced while pushing giant balls.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Children enjoy a sports event in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.

In neighboring Wajima, about 300 paper lanterns were lit to form the number “1.1,” the date of the earthquake. Residents gathered around the lanterns, which were placed near temporary housing, and mourned the victims. The lanterns bore such messages as “Step by step, we will recover.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
About 300 paper lanterns form the number “1.1” in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.

In the prefecture, there are still piles of debris in many places. Residents living in damaged houses are concerned about the approaching rainy season, which usually starts in June, as heavy rainfall could cause more damage. The Wajima city government distributed about 2,000 blue tarps to residents in mid-May after there were complaints of leaky roofs.

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Top: A damaged house is demolished in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Wednesday. Down: A building collapsed by the earthquake is seen in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Friday.

Rising temperatures are also a concern, as food will spoil more quickly and there is a risk of heat stroke. The Suzu city government, in cooperation with local restaurants and other businesses, has been preparing about 450 boxed meals a day at a city facility and providing them to evacuation centers. The meals have been delivered with cooling packs since mid-May.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A worker puts cooling packs in a tray with boxed meals to be delivered to an evacuation center in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Thursday.

The death toll from the quake has now reached 260, including 30 people who were certified as “disaster-related deaths,” meaning they died from illness or other conditions caused by stressful living conditions after the quake.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
People pray for the victims of the earthquake in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday.