Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps Dispatched to Ishikawa

The 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake caused extensive damage to the Noto region of Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. As of January 30, the confirmed fatalities and injuries surpassed 1,500, with over 20,000 houses either completely or partially destroyed.

On January 5, Ishikawa Diocese’s Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps initiated water supply support in the city of Nanao. On January 16, the first headquarters corps arrived in the affected areas and started activities such as meal preparation and general assistance at evacuation shelters in the cities of Suzu and Wajima.

Between January 28 and 30, the fourth headquarters corps worked together with diocese corps from Hyogo, Shiga, and Gifu in the cities of Suzu, Wajima, and Nanao as well as in the town of Shiga to support relief efforts such as preparing meals and providing water.

On the morning of January 28, an announcement for a water distribution site echoed through the quiet city of Nanao. The roads, cracked and damaged, required drivers to be mindful of the bumps until they reached the Sakiyama District Community Center in Nanao City.

This center was the location where the first to fifth Ishikawa diocese corps had been providing water supply support at the request of the Water and Sewage Department of Nanao City. On the 28th, the headquarters corps, along with Hyogo and Gunma diocese corps, arrived to take over the activities of Ishikawa diocese corps.

At 10:00 a.m., members of the headquarters corps and Hyogo diocese corps began water distribution using a water truck. As more and more residents came, members of Hyogo diocese corps greeted each person individually, filled their water containers, and helped carry the water to their vehicles.

Tomoyuki Imakita (57, head minister of Shinei Branch Church), the Vice Director of Hyogo diocese corps, had been directly affected by the Great Hanshin Earthquake twenty-nine years ago. His church was completely destroyed, leaving him devastated. However, he received support from the Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps and many other followers. Now, he participates in this relief effort as a way to give back for the support he received. He said, “I want to provide support that will help the victims regain a positive outlook.”

In the afternoon, Gunma diocese corps joined the effort, and two water trucks continued the water distribution.
Over the span of three days, a total of forty corps members distributed 16.5 tons of drinking water.

Providing Meals to Evacuees
In Suzu City, the headquarters corps worked together with Shiga and Gifu diocese corps to prepare meals for evacuees. To coordinate their activities with those of other volunteer organizations, they expanded their operations and delivered a total of 300 meals at two evacuation shelters.

Starting on the afternoon of the 29th, members of the Hinokishin Corps prepared dinner for evacuees in the kitchen of the local confectionery store “Melhen Nisshindo,” which served as their base camp.
Aiko Ishizuka (46, president of Melhen Nisshindo and lay minister of Tedorigawa Branch Church) stated: “I felt God’s stern yet deep parental love in this challenging situation that was shown to us during the time of the pre-anniversary period. I am grateful that our store can be utilized as a relief base by the Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps. As a Yoboku, I will do my best to bring joy to the victims.”

During this period, a total of forty-eight corps members distributed 560 meals across three evacuation shelters.

Damage to Church Buildings (as of January 27, 2024)
According to Church Headquarters’ Disaster Counteraction Committee (chaired by Yoshiyuki Nakano), the following damage has been reported as a result of the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake:

• Ishikawa Diocese: 14 church buildings and annexes for church personnel destroyed, 4 partially destroyed, and 8 partially damaged (for a total of 26)

• Niigata Diocese: A church building destroyed

• Toyama Diocese: A church building partially destroyed

This brings the total to 28 affected locations.

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