Japan to spend extra $660 million in earthquake relief

According to its prime minister, Japan will reconstruct areas devastated by a severe earthquake on New Year’s Day at a cost of $660 million more, bringing the total amount of relief efforts for the earthquake to $1.7 billion.

Parts of the Ishikawa region on the Sea of Japan coast were severely damaged by the magnitude-7.5 earthquake and its aftershocks, which uprooted buildings, tore up roads, and started a large fire.

Over 10,000 people sought refuge in hotels and shelters, and as of right now, 241 deaths have been officially reported as a result of the disaster. Water is still cut off in certain areas of Ishikawa.

While visiting the earthquake-affected districts on Saturday to examine the situation, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the new financial aid.

“The living conditions at temporary shelters are improving, but I will bear in mind that the reality remains tough as ever”, Kishida told reporters at the hardest-hit city of Wajima.

The inspection “renewed the government’s determination to work toward providing more support”, he said.

Kishida said the additional spending of around 100 billion yen ($660 million) from the current fiscal year’s reserve funds used for disaster relief and other contingencies — is set to be approved by his Cabinet in the coming days.

This will be the third time that emergency funds have been allocated to the New Year’s Day earthquake recovery operations; the total estimated sum is currently estimated to be more than 260 billion yen ($1.7 billion).

According to Kishida, a portion of the newest money would go toward funding a system of subsidies aimed at assisting young, parent-centered families in rebuilding their homes that have been devastated.

The prime minister promised greater support for Wajima’s traditional artifact business, which is renowned for its exquisite lacquerware, and added that efforts would be accelerated to build prefabricated temporary housing.

As of last month, a government estimate put the estimated damage from the earthquake in Ishikawa and two neighboring counties between 1.1 trillion yen ($7.4 billion) and 2.6 trillion yen ($17.6 billion).

However, even the highest estimate pales in comparison to the 16.9 trillion yen in damages inflicted upon northeastern Japan by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The catastrophe, which resulted in the greatest nuclear accident to hit the world since Chernobyl, caused a meltdown at the Fukushima atomic facility, leaving almost 18,500 people dead or missing.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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