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Providing mobile hot bath service: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


Two months have passed since the Noto Peninsula earthquake struck on January 1st, 2024. In severely damaged Ishikawa Prefecture, people are forced to live in limited conditions for bathing and using toilets due to the continuous water outage. AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief, Japan) has started to provide mobile hot bath service, together with local NPOs.

A man soaking in a bathtub

A survivor comfortably soaks in a bathtub of a mobile hot bath in Kanakura, Machino-machi, Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, February 21st, 2024

In the affected areas of Ishikawa Prefecture, lifelines, roads, and other infrastructures were severely damaged. Especially, water and sewage systems were heavily damaged, and water supply still has been cut off in large areas. People in these areas are using the bathhouses provided by the Self-Defense Forces and accommodations, but these bath houses are not always available due to the limited hours of use and number of users, as well as the distant locations.

Inside the mobile hot bath truck, equipped with a chair and a wash basin

Inside the mobile hot bath truck, equipped with a tank that can hold one ton of water, a bathtub, and a shower

AAR has started mobile hot bath service to help people recover from the fatigue of prolonged evacuation, cooperated with NPO Fukui Disaster Volunteer Net and NPO Team Nihonmatsu. The mobile hot bath truck is equipped with a standard household bathtub and shower, which is not difficult to use. The truck is able to carry one ton of water and also equipped with a water filtration system so that filtered and disinfected stream water can be heated for use in areas where water is difficult to secure.

The truck bed has steps from which a user can enter in to the mobile hot bath, and AAR staff member is explaining how to use the bath to a woman

AAR staff member explaining how to use the mobile hot bath to a user in Wakakuwa, Machino-machi, Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture

The mobile hot bath service began operation on February 19th, starting from the Kamiwazumi district of Noto Town. Mr. Kamitani, who has taken refuge at the Wakakuwa shelter in Machino-machi, Wajima City, enjoyed the bath for more than 30 minutes and said with a smile, “It was so good. I felt like taking a bath in my own house for the first time in a long time. It felt really good. Thank you very much.” The other users also seemed refreshed and saying, “The bathtub was spacious and comfortable.” “It’s been a long time since I took a relaxing bath by myself.”

Two men are talking with each other while sitting in a tatami room

Mr. Kamitani talking with an AAR staff member looking refreshed after taking a bath

Some bathing support services provided by the Self-Defense Forces and accommodations are available for people with disabilities and elderly people who need assistance. However, it may be difficult for them to soak leisurely in a bath due to limited hours of use or group bathing. AAR’s mobile hot bath service is also available for them. In Noto Town, a person with disabilities was able to take a bath without worrying about time of use or number of other users, being assisted by his family.

With no prospects for restoration, the affected people are being forced to bear a heavy burden in mind and body due to the restricted life in evacuation shelters. AAR will continue to provide support, both materially and mentally, to help ease the fatigue of those who have been forced to evacuate. We ask for your cooperation in AAR’s emergency support for the Noto Peninsula earthquake.

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