Nagano quake injury toll rises to 45, nearly 700 houses left without running water

Kyodo

The number of people injured in the earthquake that struck northern Nagano Prefecture over the weekend has risen to 45, according to prefectural authorities, while 690 houses were left without running water.

There were also 318 evacuees from the villages of Hakuba and Otari in the prefecture, as of Monday night.

The government of the city of Nagano and authorities in Hakuba and Otari sent water supply trucks to neighborhoods where water pipes were damaged, and allowed residents to use hot springs facilities for free. They were also considering renting out local hotels and lodges for evacuees who are in need of a place to stay.

Disaster prevention minister Eriko Yamatani warned Tuesday of possible landslides because rain has been falling on and off since Monday night.

By Tuesday, 90 earthquakes with a seismic intensity of 1 or more had been reported in the area.

A 68-year-old man from Hakuba said he took shelter because his water supply was cut off, although his house suffered little damage.

“I hope the municipal governments will tell me roughly when the infrastructure will be repaired,” he said.

The operator of Hakuba Happoone Ski Resort in Hakuba fired up its ski lifts on Wednesday to test the pylons and emergency brakes, in case any equipment sustained damage in the quake. The resort was used in the Nagano Olympic games in 1998.

Staff there began examining the lifts on Sunday, a day after the tremor struck, and judged them safe to operate, they said. The Hakuba village authority confirmed the safety of facilities in all five ski resorts in the village.

Masahiro Yamazaki, 53, who runs a hotel at Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort, said the building suffered no damage, but staff there fielded many inquiries from concerned customers.

He says he had received no cancelations as of Wednesday, but worries that people might refrain from making reservations after seeing reports about damage in the area.

An owner of a local inn said he hopes for an early snowfall. But he added that he has mixed feelings when he thinks of people left homeless in the quake.