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A Close-up Look at a Post-tsunami Site at Noto, Japan

Activity update: Mr. Bandai and his excavator.

Most people have seen tsunami footage from news and on social media. Now, here is a close-up of what it really looks like post-tsunami at Noto Peninsula.

tsunami Noto, japan earthquake 2024, Open Japan

Mr. Bandai is a key member of the Open Japan team. He is the Master operator of the heavy equipments and can maneuver them like his own fingers! He joined the disaster relief organization after his hometown was hit by the massive quake in 2011 with over 19,000 casualties. And the trauma from a decade ago never fades.

Currently based at Noto, the Open Japan team goes down a list of requests by the local residents in need of recovery assistance. This week, Mr. Bandai and the team went to the seashore to do demolition work and clear debris from the shore for a family. It always take extra courage for him to visit the worst hit areas. But he understands that residents in despair faces the destroyed site everyday, and only by clearing it will open the path to recovery for them. So he has to be there for them.

At the sea shore, they saw a car that was pulled from the land to the ocean by tsunami wave, half-buried next to an over-turned boat. And "docking" on water was "the second floor" of a home, which used to be the home of the family's son. Residents reported that more sand is flushing up the shore each day, so they have to quickly clear the site before all the debris got buried under or drifted out to the big ocean.

Noto Earthquake Disaster Relief by Open Japan.  Tsunami

For a few days, the team spent time digging up the debris from the sand, and demolish the "half-house" sitting on water. The roof tiles were carefully removed, carried to the shore by hand and stacked up for possible reuse.

The work wrapped up with hauling the destroyed car up a tow truck heading for the junk yard. The car owner was extremely sad at scene as he always put extra care driving his car. And the owner of the recovered motor-boat expressed his gratitude as he had given up thinking it is gone forever.

Japan earthquake tsunami, open japan
Noto Earthquake Disaster Relief by Open Japan.  Tsunami

Mr. Bandai finished the day, still scarred from his own experience from 2011, teared up. Thinking he will continue his best to give hope to these surviving families, to clear the paths and tell them brighter days are ahead. Tomorrow will be another day, driving his excavator to another shattered site.

At the time of writing (2 months after the earthquake), over 11,000 people are still staying in temporary group shelters. Many are senior citizens, the government relief subsidies and staff are spreading thinner each day. One critical strategy to expedite recovery is clearing debris of the 60,000+ fallen homes, so the vacant land can be turned into new houses or to build better equipped temporary homes for the survivors.

 If you resonate with our story of resilience from Noto, please pledge your support to Open Japan's disaster relief work.

Visit our Noto Disaster Relief designated page here. Or our blog at Goenne Japan.

We are also pledging to donate $10 for each order received at for the months of February, March and April. This is a great opportunity to help rebuilding the earth-quake shattered region while you support our partnering local artisans. Help keep the momentum going!!


Rural Rebuild and Revitalization

We are anticipating a lot of challenge in rebuilding these small towns, while many young people, business owners and craftsmen are already planning to relocate to other cities permanently. This will add to further loss of population and reduction in economic activities in Noto region. There is no quick way to rebuild, and it takes a lot to sustain the effort. So join us, follow this journey of resilient and recovery.

4 ways you can support Noto Earthquake Disaster Relief:

  • (1) Make a donation at our GoFundMe page. $1, $5, $10... any amount will be put to good use.

  • (2) Subscribe our blog, Follow our IG. See your Donation at work.

  • (3) Share with more people.

  • (4) Make any purchase at Goenne Japan. We pledge to donate $10 for each purchase you make during Feb, March, April. So while getting beautiful handmade craft goods from Japan you will also be making a donation!

gofundme QR code

Taketombo corp Open Japan. Japan earthquake disaster relief


Open Japan is a Disaster Relief NGO rooted in 1995 Kobe's earthquake and formalized in 2011 after the East Japan Earthquake. Over the years, they have built expertise in disaster relief works and have traveled throughout the country whenever a natural disaster strikes. They work with first responders, Japan National Self-defense Force and municipalities to rescue survivors, search for the missing, to deliver supplies and warm food at shelters, clearing debris of collapse roads and houses etc... They help keep things moving during the most urgent moments after disasters strike. The organization is sustained through individual volunteer help, donations and corporate sponsors. 

Wajima earthquake, Open Japan earthquake disaster relief 2024
Open Japan Disaster Relief team at Noto

If you have any question, insight or idea about this disaster relief initiative, please feel free to contact us!

Image usage permission granted by Open Japan

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