Japan allocates further US$660 million to earthquake recovery, total aid rises to US$1.7 billion

File photo.

25th February 2024 – (Tokyo) In response to the destructive New Year’s Day earthquake, Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has pledged an additional $660 million in relief efforts, escalating the nation’s total commitment to $1.7 billion. The 7.5 magnitude tremor, along with its aftershocks, has left a trail of destruction across the Ishikawa region, with severe infrastructural damage and an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

With the death toll currently at 241 and over 10,000 individuals displaced, residing in shelters and hotels, the situation remains critical, especially with parts of Ishikawa still lacking access to water. Prime Minister Kishida, on a visit to the quake-stricken zones this past Saturday, expressed his observations to the press. “While there are signs of improvement in the conditions at the temporary shelters, the severity of the situation for those affected cannot be understated,” he stated.

This declaration of further funding comes during a time of intense recovery efforts and is set to be sanctioned by the Japanese Cabinet in the immediate future. This third tranche of emergency reserves is part of a broader strategy to facilitate the rebuilding process, particularly focusing on young families and those with children.

The additional funds are poised not only for immediate relief but also to support long-term recovery, including expediting the construction of prefabricated housing and reinforcing the traditional crafts of the Wajima region, renowned for its lacquerware.

Estimates from government sources last month placed the potential economic impact of the disaster at ¥1.1 trillion to ¥2.6 trillion in Ishikawa and neighbouring areas. While these figures are substantial, they fall short of the ¥16.9 trillion in damages from the 2011 disaster in northeastern Japan, which claimed 18,500 lives and precipitated a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.