Japan’s Noto Still Struggling with Aftermath of Jan. 1 Quake

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An area around the Wajima Morning Market Street is seen in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Thursday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — People in the Noto Peninsula inJapan are still struggling with the aftermath of the magnitude-7.6 earthquake that struck six months ago.

The Jan. 1 quake in Ishikawa Prefecture left 281 people dead, damaged 83,980 houses and forced up to 34,000 people to evacuate their homes.

The number of evacuees dropped to 2,288 as of Thursday, and shelters are gradually shrinking. The water outage has been resolved except for about 1,500 houses in mountainous areas where there is a risk of landslides.

Construction of temporary housing has progressed, and about 17,000 people have moved in makeshift houses, including existing apartments rented by local governments. The Ishikawa prefectural government aims to complete by the end of August about 6,800 houses that have been applied by municipalities.

The demolition of collapsed houses at public expense has not progressed. More than 18,000 of about 20,000 houses for which applications were accepted have not yet been dismantled.

The population outflow was serious in the prefecture, especially among younger generations. In four municipalities in the Okunoto region that were hit hard by the quake, the population fell by 2,600 in the four months since the quake, three times the number in the same period last year.

In the Okunoto region, elderly people accounted for as high as about 50% of the total population as of April, meaning that local governments have to step up efforts to prevent their lonely deaths.

The prefectural government and municipalities will use about ¥54 billion in reconstruction funds created with state tax grants to provide support for people affected by the quake.