The Ball Street Journal

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The Ball Street Journal

The Ball Street Journal

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Citizens Left Stranded

Citizens+Left+Stranded

One week after a deadly earthquake hit the west coast of Japan, thousands of people are left with no electricity, and water and don’t know when they can start to rebuild their destroyed homes.

On New Year’s Day a magnitude 7.6 earthquake killed around 168 people, and 323 people were reported missing. Freezing temperatures, heavy snow, and rain have delayed aid, leaving people with scarce resources and little information.

Mudslides and boulders buried homes and blocked access routes. The earthquake greatly affected Nishiaraya, a small village with a population of 1,000 people.

“When will reconstruction begin? When will temporary housing be built? We’re not getting any information,” said Nishiaraya resident Hiroe Kawabe. “If we can’t live here, we need to think about leaving. We want information on how long it will take.”

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On Monday, January 1, 2024, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said 500 people could be temporarily housed in a sports center in Kanazawa but said more evacuation centers were needed. He stated that the government was also working to find hotel rooms for evacuees.

On Friday, January 5, 2024, Kishida stated that the government would tap into $33 million in budget reserves for reconstruction.

The winter weather causes reconstruction to be dangerous while more rain and snow are expected to come in a few days. Nishiaraya Fire Department Chief Hishadi Ida said that the biggest threat was not being able to plow the snow. “Machines won’t be able to get in and walking on bumpy parts where snow has accumulated will cause injuries. I think this will be a ‘secondary disaster’ and I am worried.”

The Richter scale is a measure of the strength of earthquakes, developed by Charles Francis Richter, who called it the “magnitude scale”. The magnitude 7.6 earthquake that hit Japan was 10 times stronger than a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Northridge, California, in January 1994, and 100 times stronger than the magnitude 5.0 earthquake that hit the Yountville area on September 3, 2000. It affected many parts of Northern California, including the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa. Magnitude 7.0-7.9 earthquakes cause severe, massive damage.

Northridge, California 1994

 

Yountville, California 2000

 

 

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