Local Authorities Work to Secure Comfortable Accommodations for Evacuees Amid Rising Death Toll and Severe Conditions

ISHIKAWA, JAPAN – Authorities in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, are working to relocate evacuees from the recent powerful earthquake to more suitable accommodations after reports of challenging conditions at evacuation centers and multiple deaths.

According to local authorities, the death toll from the magnitude-7.6 earthquake on New Year’s Day has risen to 206, including eight people who were not directly killed by the quake but are believed to have died due to deteriorating health conditions, possibly aggravated by the stress of being evacuated.

Over 26,000 people are still residing in evacuation centers, while approximately 3,100 residents are cut off due to damaged roads, as reported by the prefectural government.

Efforts are being made to transfer evacuees to locations away from disaster-stricken areas in order to provide more comfortable accommodations. Evacuees in Ishikawa’s Wajima were seen boarding buses on Wednesday headed for a prefectural sports center in Kanazawa.

The central government is expected to arrange accommodations for about 10,000 evacuees in Ishikawa, Toyama, Fukui, and Niigata prefectures within the week, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The number of people unaccounted for has decreased to 52, although the figure continues to fluctuate daily as the prefectural government releases the names of individuals it is unable to reach.

The prefectural government and the weather agency are urging people to be cautious of unstable ground in quake-hit areas, with continuous rain causing melting snow and softer ground.

As the search operation continues in areas affected by the earthquake, authorities are also conducting inspections on buildings at risk of collapse to prevent further damage.

The gutted market in Wajima, where a major blaze broke out following the earthquake, remains a focal point for the search operation, as police officers are observed removing rubble by hand.

Suzu and adjacent Wajima have witnessed the highest number of fatalities, with 91 and 83 killed, respectively, based on reports from each municipality.

The local government believes that communication shortfalls and severed traffic routes may still prevent some individuals from reporting whether they are safe, leading to a fluctuating number of unaccounted-for persons.

Overall, the authorities are striving to ensure the well-being and safety of evacuees and residents in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake.