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Soup kitchen in Wajima: “Thank you for the hot meal”: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


A week has passed since the Noto Peninsula earthquake struck, and more than 28,000 people in Ishikawa Prefecture alone are huddled in shelters or forced to evacuate their homes in the bitter cold and snow.  AAR Japan [Association for Aid and Relief, Japan] emergency support teams have been providing soup kitchens in Wajima City and Suzu City, as well as delivering relief supplies to facilities for the disabled throughout the prefecture.

many evacuees receiving soup meal.

Survivors receiving AAR’s soup meal at the Fureai Health Center in Wajima, Japan, January 6, 2024.

When we entered downtown Wajima, which was severely damaged by the violent tremors and a huge fire, the whole area around  “Asaichi Street”, a famous sightseeing spot, was filled with the smell of burnt-out buildings.  AAR conducted a soup kitchen and served 700 servings of curry and rice, 300 servings of meat and potatoes, etc. to the evacuees.  One of the evacuees said, “It’s been a week since the earthquake, and I am exhausted both physically and mentally.  We are really grateful for the hot meals in the cold weather.”

Devastated city of Wajima. Many buildings heavily amaged by the earthquake and fire.

The smell of burnt-out buildings still lingers in the air in the city of Wajima.

AAR worked with its partner, the authorized NPO Peace Project (Representative: Ben Kato, AAR Director), to provide 370 servings of fried rice and dumplings to ensure that everyone had enough food to eat.  The elderly are a conspicuous sight at the evacuation center, where power was finally restored on January 6.  A woman who lives with her parents said, “My house did not collapse, but electricity and water have not been restored, and I don’t know when I will be able to go home. We have no choice but to help each other to get through this situation.”

Disaster victims wait in line to receive soup meals from AAR and volunteer staff members.

Disaster victims line up for a soup kitchen at Wakayama Elementary School in Suzu City on January 7.

Many evacuees sitting on the floor of school gym.

Survivors huddled in a shelter at Wakayama Elementary School in Suzu City

AAR emergency support teams procure foodstuffs and relief supplies in neighboring Toyama Prefecture, and spend four to five hours each way to travel back and forth along heavily damaged main roads to provide support.  In such cases, we always receive words such as, “Thank you for delivering support from afar. We will do our best as well.”

Main road is completely split all the way because of the crack by the earthquake.

The main road leading to Suzu City with a large crack

AAR will continue to provide support to foreign residents in addition to the support to welfare facilities for people with disabilities in the affected areas, which has been our focus so far.  We would like to ask for your cooperation in AAR’s emergency support for the Noto Peninsula earthquake.

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