News Release

Report on the Church’s Support for the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake 

Chronology of the week following the disaster

At 4:10 p.m. on Mondy, January 1, 2024, the Noto Peninsula Earthquake struck the Noto region of Ishikawa Prefecture. The earthquake, which recorded a maximum intensity of 7 on the Japanese seismic scale, was centered on a wide area on the Sea of Japan (East Sea) side of the peninsula. The area also experienced numerous aftershocks. Major roads on the Noto Peninsula were cut off in many places, leaving residents isolated. 

Elders Takashi Wada, John McCune, and Kimo Esplin of the Asia North Area Presidency sent a message through the church newsroom on Tuesday, January 2nd. 

What was happening on the ground? From Toyama Prefecture to the Noto Peninsula, houses were partially collapsed. North of Himi City, in Yoyama Prefecture, some houses were completely destroyed. 

In Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture, located north of Himi City, drinking water was provided by the Kanazawa Stake and the Church Welfare and Self-Reliance (WSR) Support Service Department for the Nanao Branch shortly after the disaster.  

Supplies were distributed to members and others by Wednesday, January 3rd. The Nanao Branch has continued to accumulate supplies, but they lack the workforce to deliver them. Neighbors requested and received drinking water and other supplies. Brother Akihito Suda, from the National Communication Council also visited the area. 

On Thursday, January 4th, many Kanazawa Stake members and missionaries came to help the Nanao Branch. The following Helping Hands events (service activities) were conducted by the Kanazawa Stake: 

A Soup Kitchen: Several members headed for Anamizu Town, but were unable to reach the site, due to traffic congestion caused by road sinks, cracks in the ground, etc., as well as gasoline supply concerns. Although they were unable to conduct the soup kitchen, this attempt helped to understand the road conditions. 

Water Supply Assistance: Several members supported water supply activities in Nanao City for 9 hours. 

Delivery of Supplies: Several members left in the evening and returned late at night. 

Also on Thursday, staff from the Church’s Facilities Management Department surveyed the damage to the Nanao Branch building. Although there were cracks and torn wallpaper in several places, the building was assessed as structurally sound and usable as a meeting place. That evening, staff from the Church’s WSR Support Service Department arrived from Tokyo with relief supplies. Councils continued under the leadership of Branch President Masanori Nishida to ascertain the ever-changing needs of the members after the disaster. 

On Friday, January 5th, water supply and soup distribution assistance were provided. Members of the Kanazawa Stake arranged to receive water from a Japan Coast Guard vessel. The water was transported to Nanao Municipal Eastern Junior High School to provide for the citizens. Along with the water, rice balls and curry rice were served. Additionally, the Kanazawa Ward delivered 80 liters of kerosene, 20 liters of gasoline, polyethylene tanks, and portable toilets. 

The Church’s WSR Department staff will regularly exchange information with the Japan Volunteer Organizations assisting Disaster Relief Network (JVOAD) to seek opportunities to provide assistance. 

The safety of the members was also confirmed. There were no reported injuries. Although there was some damage to their homes, there were no serious problems, such as collapsed houses. 

On Saturday, January 6th, Elder Yuichi Imai, a member of the Area Seventy, arrived at the site. At a council meeting held that day, Elder Imai felt strongly prompted by the Spirit. Hoping for the members to receive strength from God, he proposed to hold a Sacrament Meeting at the Nanao Branch. In response, the Stake presidency and Branch presidency agreed to do so. On the following day, January 7th, a Sacrament Meeting was held, with Elder Imai presiding. President Tatsuya Yoshida, of the Kanazawa Stake also visited, along with his 1st Counselor, Hisao Murai, and 2nd Counselor, Eiji Nishimura.  

Sacrament meeting at the Nanao Branch on January 1st, presided over by Elder Imai of the Area Seventy.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Imai said, “If even one person could come to the meeting, it would have been a great blessing. We had planned to have a Sacrament Meeting even if only one person came, but almost everyone from the Nanao Branch who usually attends showed up. Often in such a situation, people would talk about how difficult it was for them because of the disaster, but in the testimony meeting, not one person mentioned that, but they only testified about Jesus Christ. I was filled with the passion and faith of the members of the branch; instead of being discouraged, I was encouraged. As we returned home late that night, the speed limit was slow, due to the snow, but our hearts were filled with warm feelings.” 

Confusion still reigns in the area, and the full extent of the damage has yet to be assessed. In Nanao City, citizens are living in challenging situations, due to the water supply being cut off. No one knows when the entire city will be restored. Fortunately, there are members of the Nanao Branch who have access to an abundance of non-potable water (natural water) for daily use, so they do not have any problems with water for toilets, etc. There are no power outages in Nanao City, and heating is working fine. Members of the Nanao Branch, with the cooperation of members from the Kanazawa Stake, are doing their best to distribute water for drinking and daily use. 

Local community leaders have requested that those wishing to help refrain from attempting to contact them directly, or from sending relief supplies directly to them. Due to the season of snowfall and poor road conditions, the Church WSR Department recommends that members outside the Kanazawa Stake refrain from entering the area. Members may contribute through donations to the Church's Humanitarian Aid Fund, so as not to hinder the coordination of emergency vehicle activities for the affected areas. Donations provide emergency response and disaster relief for countries all over the world. 

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