NCY of Japan Joins Earthquake Relief and Refreshment Efforts for Victims

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On January 1, 2024, at around 16:10, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula of Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. The earthquake has caused severe damage, especially in the Noto Peninsula of Ishikawa Prefecture. 

We are fortunate that the Toyama YMCA and Kanazawa YMCA, which were nearest to the epicentre of the earthquake, suffered no personal damage. In addition, the Toyama YMCA restarted its nursery school, alternative school, and services on January 5.

From January 7 to 9, the National Council of YMCAs of Japan visited Nanao City and Wajima City in Ishikawa Prefecture to see the situation and visit churches in the affected areas.  At the evacuation centers set up in each city, food distribution is being carried out, but the number of meals is insufficient and relief supplies such as water and sanitary items are also not sufficient.  During a visit to the Ishikawa Prefectural Government as part of the visit, the YMCA also cooperated as an advisor for the operation of a "1.5 evacuation center" at the Ishikawa Sports Center in Kanazawa City, at the request of the Ministry of Cabinet Office in Japan.  We continue to send staff from local YMCAs in Japan in a relay format, providing advice on operations based on our experience in running evacuation centers after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Kumamoto earthquake.

The "1.5 evacuation centres" are a temporary places for the elderly, people with special needs, pregnant women, and very young children to stay until they can be moved to a "secondary evacuation centre", such as a nearby hotelBy January 16, 702 people had been accepted into this shelter. Among them, 451 people were moved to secondary evacuation centers, and 251 people are currently using the 1.5 evacuation center.  The 1.5 evacuation center is made up of about 80 tents with cardboard beds and blankets inside, as well as a nursing room, children's space, and space for those who are not feeling well, to provide for their care.  This operation will continue until February at the request of the Cabinet Office in Japan.

The Tokyo YMCA has also started providing operational support for evacuation centers in Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture.  From January 24, Tokyo YMCA will work together with city staff of Wajima to take charge of various tasks at the evacuation center.  Three staff members are currently on Wajima city.  Wajima City is the worst affected city in the Noto Peninsula, with 3,500 people still living in evacuation centers, and about 100 evacuation centers are still operating as of January 23.  The evacuation centers are basically operated by city employees, but 90% of the city staff members are also victims of the big earthquake.

The Tokyo YMCA's activity is to support the city employees who are running the evacuation centers while being affected by the earthquake disaster themselves. 

In addition to providing support for shelter operations, we are preparing to start a refreshment program for children affected by the disaster, a space and health exercises for seniors, mainly at the Toyama YMCA after February.  We hope that our activities will contribute to bringing smiles to the faces of those affected by the disaster.

Based on the experience and knowledge of disaster relief activities we have been conducting, the Japan YMCA will develop support activities such as evacuation center operation support, disaster volunteer operation support, and disaster victim refreshment, with the highest priority given to the mental and physical safety of those affected and those who support them.


By Ms. Utako Sugino, Executive Secretary, NCY of Japan