Emergency personnel remaining on the volcanic island of Miyake, some 200 km south of Tokyo, on Saturday resumed work to repair infrastructure damaged by recent mudslides.
The repair work, which was suspended due to torrential rain, is focusing on repairing roads damaged and blocked at six spots and restoring power in the Ako district on the west side of the island, Miyake village officials said.
The officials warned that telephone services on the island and three neighboring isles may be interrupted Monday if a telephone relay station powered by an electric generator by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. in Ako runs short of fuel.
Storm damage to NTT’s fiber-optic cables has already interrupted telephone services on the east side of the island.
Miyake’s 3,850 residents have been evacuated following a series of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, but some 230 emergency personnel, including local and Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials, remain on the island.
Meteorological Agency officials and volcano experts flew over the island aboard a helicopter Saturday for the first time in six days to monitor the mountain. They had not been able to observe volcanic activity previously due to bad weather.
In Tokyo, the last group of about 130 evacuees staying at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center left their temporary evacuation accommodation for public housing Saturday.
A total of about 600 evacuees from Miyake have stayed at the center, in Shibuya Ward, since Sept. 3.
The metropolitan government has asked adjacent prefectural and municipal governments, as well as the Housing and Urban Development Corp., to provide public housing for Miyake residents and secured about 1,800 apartment units.
In addition to the approximately 600 evacuees, 300 Miyake residents staying with relatives in the Tokyo area have also applied for public apartment units, officials said.
In Akiruno, western Tokyo, about 350 elementary, junior high and high school students from Miyake Island are living and studying at Akikawa High School.
Fifth grader Megumi Koike, 11, said, “It’s fun that we can stay together, but I’m getting tired of taking care of my little brother and cleaning the dorm.”
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara told a news conference Friday that the metropolitan government will continue to do its best to support evacuees.
Although he expressed hope that all Miyake residents will be able to return to their island in the near future, there is no sign of the volcanic activity ceasing.
Mount Oyama, the 813-meter volcano at the center of the 55-sq.-km island, continued to release smoke, sending a column some 1,800 meters high at 5:40 a.m. Saturday.
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