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Many elderly people, affected by deteriorating sanitary conditions: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


Ten days have passed since the Noto Peninsula earthquake struck, and many victims are still living in inconvenient conditions in evacuation centers, etc. AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief, Japan) emergency support teams are providing soup kitchens and assistance to evacuees, including foreign victims, as well as distributing hygiene products to facilities for the disabled and evacuation centers.

AAR staff talking to an elderly woman.

AAR’s Namatame talks to a woman in her 70s who has evacuated to a community center on January 11, 2024

“There are many elderly people at the evacuation center, so I am worried that their health might deteriorate. We try to keep the toilets as clean as possible, including cleaning them frequently, but there are so many users that they inevitably get dirty. We can’t even disinfect the toilets to prevent norovirus, and we are worried about the spread of infection.” A female city employee who works at an evacuation shelter set up in a community center said.

In Ishikawa Prefecture, more than 200 people have died, eight of whom are considered “disaster-related deaths,” meaning that their illnesses worsened or their health deteriorated during evacuation, and not as a direct result of the earthquake and tsunami. In the areas affected by the Noto Peninsula earthquake, there are many elderly people in particular, and there is concern that disaster-related deaths will increase as evacuation life is prolonged.

A hall in the town hall accepting disaster victims using desks and chairs

At the town hall, where the victims are being accommodated using desks and chairs. The situation remains severe without cardboard beds or other items

A space has been set up in the town hall for those in need of medical attention. Those waiting for their turn to receive medical attention are still predominantly elderly, and many are living in evacuation shelters while continuing to receive medical treatment. A male employee at the town office concerned about the deteriorating health and sanitary conditions of the evacuees and commented, “The victims are clearly exhausted. Some evacuees are still in their clothes and have not washed their hair for a long time”. “The influenza seems to be spreading. Fortunately, a nearby hospital is in operation, so they are cooperating with us, but I am worried about the spread of infection in the evacuation center, where many evacuees are huddled together in one space.”

Three men stand with body wiping towels and waterless shampoo in their hands.

Felissimo’s body wiping towels, waterless shampoo, etc. provided to community life support facilities

In addition to hygiene products and underwear, AAR provided body wiping towels and waterless shampoo, emergency portable toilets and small tents donated by partner companies, Montbell Inc. (Osaka City), Felissimo Corporation (Kobe City), Excelsior, Inc(Tokyo). However, the need is enormous and there is still more to be done. With the cooperation of companies and supporters, we will continue to provide assistance to evacuation centers and facilities for the disabled and elderly.

We would like to thank you again for your cooperation in AAR’s emergency support for the Noto Peninsula earthquake.

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