As many of you already know, last Saturday night (Nov 22 2014) Northern Nagano prefecture was hit by a pretty serious earthquake & Hakuba was at the center of it. The Japan Meteorological Agency is calling it a magnitude 6.7 earthquake.
Firstly, I`d like to say thank you for all the thoughts & emails we`ve received. We really appreciate your concern.
The Morino crew & all of our Hakuba friends are doing fine. All of our lodges & chalets escaped without any issues, and indeed, most of the town, and the ski resorts, felt nothing more than a big shake….which is not entirely uncommon in Japan of course. We are all fine, and all we lost at the Lodge was a bottle of wine and a glass or two. No apparent damage at any of the resorts, the lifts, or anything else….
Not to downplay what happened however…. Some older houses on the far east side of the valley took it less well, and several were completely destroyed (see below), along with a few cracks in the roadway. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear any lives were lost & the number of serious injuries reported as of Tuesday were listed as just 4 people (with 19 people listed as slightly injured).
Damaged homes in the Horinouchi community near the road leading out from Hakuba to Nagano City. This was the area hit hardest by the quake.
Aftershocks have become less frequent & decreasing in intensity & should be a thing of the past after a couple more days. I expect that this will have zero effect on this upcoming ski season, but of course… we will continue to monitor the situation.
Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any concerns as the time gets closer…. !!
I have to give big kudos to the Japanese emergency services` response to the quake. It`s been swift & thorough, bringing calm & confidence that the affected people are being looked after & damaged roads & infrastructure have been being dealt with since immediately after the quake.
I also have to make a note about the Japanese people in general; once again, in the face of adversity they remain poised, calm & totally dignified. No CNN induced hysteria here!
Finally, to reiterate, for the bulk of Hakuba, life has returned to normal. However, there are some people on the outskirts of town for whom this earthquake has been devastating. Hakuba Village office reports that a total of 27 homes were totally destroyed, 17 partially destroyed & 58 suffered slight-damage. If you include warehouses & rice storage sheds (Kura) then in total 224 structures experienced some damage.
At this stage i`m not aware of any relief fund to help get these people back on their feet but i`m expecting there will be something set up soon & will post about it then.
Thanks again for all your concerns.
Old storage sheds like these didn`t fair well. In total 53 “warehouses” were totally destroyed.
The response to the earthquake has been amazing. Damaged roads like this one are quickly being repaired.
safe & warm in an emergency shelter….& still smiling.