The powerful earthquake which hit the Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa Prefecture caused great devastation and left more than 200 dead. As of the morning of January 10, at least 1,798 buildings were heavily damaged or completely destroyed. Some areas continue to face challenges such as impassable roads and loss of water and power supply. This has left about 26,000 people seeking refuge in shelters. To address these urgent needs and bring the assistance required to Ishikawa Prefecture, the Japanese government has mobilized efforts in a systematic way.

Buildings in the city of Nanao after the Noto Peninsula Earthquake. | Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation | 2024/01/05

On January 5, a team of four volunteers from Tzu Chi Japan, led by Jin-Fa Chen (陳金發), went to survey Nanao, one of the severely affected cities in Ishikawa Prefecture. During their visit, they met Dr. Wen-Bi Chen (陳文筆), a local community leader who serves in Nanao Hospital, one of the three functioning hospitals on the Noto Peninsula. Situated on a small hill near the coast, the hospital served as a refuge for many residents when a tsunami warning was issued.

On the following day, Dr. Chen took the Tzu Chi Japan team to Asuka-machi to gather information about the residents' immediate needs. Dharma Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, expressed deep concern for the urgent requirements of the disaster victims. She  promptly instructed the volunteers to prioritize distribution of blankets to help them withstand the cold. According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the nighttime temperatures in Ishikawa Prefecture have dropped to zero and below, increasing the urgency of meeting the immediate needs of those affected.