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“Community strength is what keeps us going” Survivors support each other: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


Many people who lost their homes in the Noto Peninsula earthquake have been living in shelters for more than 10 days without enough food, clothing, daily necessities, etc. AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief, Japan) Emergency Support Team has been delivering relief supplies to evacuation centers in Ishikawa Prefecture, which was severely damaged.

AAR staff interviewing an elderly woman at an evacuation center

A woman answers an interview by AAR staff on January 11, 2024.

On January 11, AAR provided clothing such as underwear and socks as well as hygiene items to those staying in evacuation centers. 75-year-old woman who received waterless shampoo said, “We are so grateful because we haven’t washed our hair since the New Year’s Day.” At evacuation centers, it is difficult for evacuees to wash their clothes, and many of them ask for new underwear and other changes of clothes. This woman said, “My son brought me a change of clothes from Kanazawa today, and I finally put on some clean clothes, but I had not been able to change for 10 days since the evacuation. There are elderly people who have no choice but to wear paper pants.”

At the evacuation center, there are many elderly people. The woman looked around at the faces of people her own age and said, “The community here is strong, so everyone is doing their best even under these circumstances. They bring food from their respective homes and share the soup kitchen. But the food and ingredients we prepared for New Year’s holidays are almost finished, so I guess we will be eating only retort-pouch foods from now on.” Her face is clouded with anxiety about the uncertain future.

Four men are standing

A man who helped with the food preparation(right) and AAR Okayama (left), on January 9, 2024.

A man in his 60s who volunteered to help AAR serve food at an elementary school evacuation center said, “I was living on a pension after retiring from public service, and the earthquake completely destroyed the house where I lived with my elderly mother and wife.” He had his own small boat and enjoyed fishing as a hobby, but the fishing port he frequented was devastated by the tsunami, which damaged the concrete quay wall. When asked about his current state of mind, he replied, “I don’t feel like thinking anything about future. I’m not looking backward, but I’m not looking forward either. I’m going to live looking side for now. Ha ha ha!” He answered with a laugh.

Food is being distributed at the venue where people have gathered

A scene from the soup kitchen. The menu was ginger pork and stir-fried vegetables

In addition to providing food at evacuation centers, AAR is working with many companies and organizations to deliver emergency portable toilets, small tents, hygiene items, clothing, etc., but the support is still insufficient.

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

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