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Water Aid for Disaster Areas: Noto Peninsula Earthquake


The Noto Peninsula earthquake caused extensive damage to the water supply infrastructure, and more than two months after the quake, water continues to be cut off in large areas. AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief, Japan) continues to provide support to alleviate water-related inconveniences by distributing drinking water to facilities for the people with disabilities and evacuation centers, as well as providing electric pumps for wells and operating mobile hot bath service.

Two men installing a pump on a well.

Installing an electric pump on a dormant well in Machino-machi, Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture, February 11, 2024

In Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture, water was cut off to more than 11,000 households in almost all areas due to the earthquake. Water outages have been resolved in approximately 3,400 households by late February, but many households and evacuation centers are still without water service. Not only are people unable to use tap water for cooking and drinking, but also for bathing, using the toilet, washing clothes, and brushing teeth, they are forced to live an restricted life with a heavy burden caused by water outage.

In Machino-machi, Wajima City, where the water supply had been cut off for a long time, a plan was underway to restore a previously used “dormant well” and use it as water for daily use. At the request of the local people, AAR provided two electric pumps to pump water from the wells. When the pumps were attached to the wells and water came out of the connected pipes with enough force, the people cheered loudly.

The moment enough water came out of the well, there were shouts of joy

After that, plumbing work was done and water was able to be sent from the well to the kitchen of the voluntary shelter. A woman, who had been struggling even to wash dishes because the water supply had been cut off, said, “Now I can finally use water normally. I now understand how much I appreciate the water supply that I used to take for granted,” she said with a look of relief on her face.

Photo of a woman washing dishes in the sink

Woman washing dishes with water from the well

AAR has also provided a laundry machine in a common space near this voluntary shelter, which is shared by those who have taken refuge in the shelter. Those who used to travel to distant laundromats or wash their dishes by hand in cold water expressed their gratitude, saying, “This is really helpful.”

Two men standing in front of a polyethylene tank.

Three large polyethylene tanks for storing filtered stream water are provided to a temple that has become a stronghold for local people in Machino-machi, Wajima, February 22, 2024

The mobile hot bath service, which began operating on February 19th, has been touring evacuation centers and other locations and has received positive feedback from survivors who have used it. A woman who assisted an elderly family member in taking a bath said, “She didn’t want to go to the bath served by Self Defence Force, which has various restrictions, and I was at a loss as to what to do for her. So, it really helped that she was able to take a relaxing hot bath here.” On March 2, accompanied by a volunteer who can assist with bathing, people with disabilities and others who need assistance were able to take hot bath without the help of family members.

It will take a long time before the water is fully restored, and the survivors are still forced to live without free access to water. AAR will continue to provide support to alleviate their difficulties. We appreciate your cooperation in AAR’s support for the Noto Peninsula earthquake victims.

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