Society | Jan 15

Disaster-Related Deaths Following Noto Earthquake Remain Major Concern

Ishikawa, Jan 15 (NHK) - Monday marks two weeks since a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck central Japan. The disaster has claimed at least 221 lives, with crews searching for 22 people still unaccounted for. As relief efforts continue, officials fear harsh conditions in evacuation centers are posing a major health risk.

Officials in Ishikawa Prefecture say almost 500 people in over a dozen communities remain cut off due to blocked roads.

As of Sunday, water and power were still unavailable at hundreds of evacuation sites hosting almost 20-thousand people. 13 evacuees are now believed to have died from sudden or chronic illness after staying at a temporary shelter.

To prevent more "disaster related deaths", officials are working to relocate survivors to better accommodations, inside and outside the prefecture.

After moving to such a location, an evacuee from Wajima says he can stretch his legs when he sleeps. He says he is happy to take a bath for the first time in two weeks.

Another evacuee who arrived at the facility from Wajima says she wants to see her daughter. Her daughter arrived ahead of her.

Many of those displaced by the New Year's Day quake include the elderly or those in need of specialized care, but the staff who work with them are also struggling.

Japan's Health Ministry says it will begin deploying caregivers from other parts of the country to Ishikawa.

They'll provide reinforcements for care facilities left understaffed by the disaster.

They'll also relieve caregivers who may have been personally impacted by the quake, but have been working round the clock to support the most vulnerable.


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