Lifeline Workers Joined Police and Self-Defense Forces in the Disaster area Facing Unknown Struggles | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Lifeline Workers Joined Police and Self-Defense Forces in the Disaster area Facing Unknown Struggles

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Softbank and KDDI mobile base stations deployed in Wajima City. They were deployed at the highest elevation possible to improve the signal environment. The companies were also deployed at evacuation centers and other places where many people gathered.

A month has passed since the earthquake, and the affected areas are gradually making progress toward recovery. Immediately after the earthquake, the police, fire department, and Self-Defense Forces arrived in the affected areas to rescue victims, but they were not the only ones who quickly arrived. People involved in infrastructure such as electricity, water, and gas also arrived in the affected areas one after another at the same time.

The author was able to enter the Noto Peninsula on the evening of January 9. Many streetlights and villages were still working, but many of the utility poles on the Noto Peninsula had collapsed, and it was only the hard work of electric power company employees, who had gathered from all over the country to restore power, that made it possible. At some sites, work vehicles were deployed along roadless roads, working side by side with danger even in areas where landslides were likely to occur. As a result of the hard work, the Hokuriku Electric Power Company (HEPCO) announced that as of February 1, power had been restored to less than 2,000 households, compared to 40,000 households without power.

Cell phone reception was good around the evacuation centers in major cities such as Wajima and Suzu, but when one moved away from the cities, the signal was often out of range. However, there were places in the mountains where the signal was suddenly available, and when we looked at the relatively high elevation, we found that mobile base stations of various cell phone companies were deployed there. Mobile base stations of mobile phone companies were deployed in the area. They were constantly supplying radio waves using portable generators as well. In normal times, these vehicles appear at concerts and other large-scale events to help improve the communication environment for visitors. Many of you may have seen them in action.

KDDI and DOCOMO deployed ship-based base stations from offshore in addition to the vehicles to secure the communication environment.

Since propane gas is the mainstay of gas in the Noto Peninsula, gas company employees visited each residence and store to inspect for gas leaks, etc.

On the other hand, it will take a long time to restore water and sewage services. In response, water trucks and other vehicles from cities, towns, and villages across Japan, along with water trucks from the Self-Defense Forces, have entered the affected areas and are continuing to supply water to residents every day. Some local government officials are carrying heavy tanks and PET bottles filled with water to the homes of the elderly, and some disaster victims say that they are becoming more familiar with each other by the day, and that it is a refreshing change of pace to chat with each other. And then there is gas. The Noto Peninsula is not served by city gas, and propane gas is the mainstay. For this reason, employees dispatched by gas companies from all over the country visited each house and store to carefully inspect for gas leaks and other problems.

In addition, the area had been suffering from gasoline shortages for some time after the disaster, but tanker trucks began arriving one after another around January 10, and some gas stations, which had been restricted to refueling up to 20 liters or emergency vehicles only, were now able to refuel under normal conditions without restrictions.

In an instant, natural disasters can take away the things we take for granted. We are reminded once again that we must live our lives with an awareness of disasters.

A water truck dispatched by the Kyoto City Water Supply and Sewerage Bureau. They provide residents with drinking water, and even help carry elderly people when they come to the station.
A Chubu Electric Power Company vehicle deployed in front of Nanao Station. This was the front line base for deployment to various locations.
The power company’s vehicles were deployed to areas with severe cracks in the ground, and they were working hard to restore power to the area.
  • Photography, Reporting, Writing Takuma Arimura

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