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Cooking in the bitter cold continues: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


In Ishikawa Prefecture alone, about 15,000 people are still forced to live in evacuation centers in the bitter cold after the Noto Peninsula earthquake. AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief, Japan)’s emergency support team has continued to serve meals at evacuation centers in the prefecture in cooperation with other organizations, and has delivered approximately 12,000 hot meals since the earthquake occurred.

People lined up for the soup kitchen in the snowy weather.

Residents of the disaster-stricken area line up for a soup kitchen run by BOND & JUSTICE, an NPO in cooperation with AAR, at Nico Nico Hiroba in Noto Town, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, on January 13, 2024

“Warm kitsune udon is delicious,” “It’s going to be cold again tonight, so I’m grateful for the pork miso soup.” Since January 3, AAR, together with its partner NPO Peace Project (Representative: Ben Kato, AAR Director), has been serving food at the evacuation center of Wakayama Elementary School in Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, where biting cold continues every day. 100 servings of kitsune udon noodles were served at noon on January 16, and 130 servings of pork miso soup and rice were served in the evening. The soup kitchen is located in Suzu City.

The soup kitchen continues to visit evacuation centers in Wajima City and Noto Town, which were particularly hard hit by the disaster, as well as in Suzu City. Sometimes we are not able to serve for 3 or 4 days due to procurement of ingredients, but when we revisit evacuation center to cook, we are often greeted with comments such as, “Wow, you are here again! What’s on the menu?” We are greeted one by one by the affected residents, “We haven’t been able to eat hot meals while you were gone.”

Two men cooking outdoors using a large pot and pan

Peace Project staff and volunteers cooking for a hot meal at Wakayama Elementary School in Suzu City

People with kitsune udon noodles in the gymnasium of an elementary school that serves as an evacuation shelter.

Kitsune udon noodle soup = Wakayama Elementary School in Suzu City

Water is still cut off in many areas of the disaster-stricken area, and the stress of evacuees seems to be increasing day by day at evacuation centers, where sanitary measures and privacy are difficult to maintain. AAR’s soup kitchen is designed to provide a balanced nutritional diet with vegetables and meat, as well as a relaxing time for the evacuees, and on the 18th, we served a local dish called “Tori-Yasai Miso.

The rooms are separated by cardboard partitions, but the height of the partitions is low, making it difficult to ensure privacy.

Evacuation shelter set up in the gymnasium of Noto Town’s Hoshi Elementary School

These efforts are being carried out with the cooperation of many companies and organizations. Cooking and distribution of food in the disaster-stricken area is continuously conducted in cooperation with Higashi Honganji Temple (Kyoto City), NPOs BOND&JUSTICE and Kazagumi Kanto (both in Tokyo). Mabuchi Farm of Shizuoka Prefecture and FARM KTT have donated fresh vegetables and fruits, and NPO Second Harvest Japan (Tokyo) has provided approximately 1,500 disposable dishes. In addition, HARTIN, a general incorporated association, is assisting us in transporting foodstuffs to the shelters. We would like to thank everyone for their cooperation.

AAR will continue the relief activities such as soup kitchen, etc. We would like to ask for your cooperation in AAR’s emergency support for the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

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