Multiple Landslides Heighten Secondary Disaster Risks in Noto Earthquake-Affected Areas as Snowmelt Season Arrives | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Multiple Landslides Heighten Secondary Disaster Risks in Noto Earthquake-Affected Areas as Snowmelt Season Arrives

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Members of a wide-area emergency rescue team conducting a search operation in a village in Ichinose Town. Water like a waterfall continued to flow.

Landslides have occurred all over the Noto Peninsula, and roads are still cut off.

Although the number of passable roads is increasing day by day thanks to the hard work, there are still some places where roads that were passable in the morning were impassable in the evening for some time after the disaster. In many places, the roads that had been cleared were passable for the time being, but there were only trees that were about to fall and were held up by power lines.

In addition, the landslide easily swallowed not only roads but also villages. The Self-Defense Forces and others have been conducting daily search operations, but the search has been difficult in many places. The author visited a village in Ichinose-cho, Wajima City, where about 40 people from the Metropolitan Police Department, Hiroshima Prefectural Police, Kagoshima Prefectural Police, and other wide-area emergency assistance teams were engaged in a frantic search using heavy machinery and other equipment.

We spoke with a member of the Ishikawa Prefectural Police Force who was observing the work, but he bit his lip and said , “We don’t have a detailed count of how many people were involved. A large landslide occurred on a large mountain near the village and hit the community. Since it was New Year’s Day, square barrels and New Year’s tableware were scattered in the rice paddies where they had been washed away, and collapsed houses were also noticeable. The evening of a happy family reunion was struck by the cruel devastation.

Landslides washed away square barrels and New Year’s tableware from houses. Disasters come suddenly and mercilessly.

And what is even more frightening is that the snow melting season begins in February and onward. Local residents said,

Every year around the end of February, the snow starts to melt around here and water starts to flow down from the mountains, but nothing is more frightening than this time. Landslides are happening all over the place, and I am worried about what is going to happen…”

I’m worried about what will happen now.

The weather was relatively fine on the day of my visit, but because of this, melted snow from the mountains flowed into the search area in large quantities, and in some places the water flowed like a waterfall. At the same time as the landslides, “river channel blockages,” or sediment dams, occurred at 14 locations along six rivers in Wajima City and Noto Town, and the threat of sediment dams loomed over the village of Ichinose, where search operations were underway. The situation remains unpredictable, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism is strengthening countermeasure construction and monitoring systems. There is an urgent need to ensure the safety not only of those living in the area but also of the personnel involved in search and recovery operations.

A massive landslide occurred from both sides of the mountain in Ichinose Town, engulfing the village.
Surveillance cameras installed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism are in operation at the landslide site in Ichinose Town, and the Wajima City Office and others are constantly monitoring the area.
Landslides have occurred all over the mountainous areas of the Noto Peninsula.
  • Photography, writing, and reporting Takuma Arimura

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