News / Asia

First of Japan Disaster Survivors Get Temporary Houses

This week, several dozen families began moving into temporary housing on the grounds of a school in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, April 11, 2011. .
This week, several dozen families began moving into temporary housing on the grounds of a school in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, April 11, 2011. .

A month after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, more than 125,000 people remain in evacuation centers.

Others are living with relatives.

Most of them were made homeless by the March 11 natural disaster while others were ordered from their residences around the crippled Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

A small number of families have just moved into temporary housing, but the majority of the homeless face an extended period in limbo.

As the rain-soaked ground shook again from a large aftershock, exactly one month after the disaster that made her family homeless, Mika Terui counts herself, her husband and three children as among the lucky ones. But, she says, she still has concerns.

Mika Terui, a 39-year-old mother of three.
Mika Terui, a 39-year-old mother of three.

Terui explains that while she is grateful to be living in new quarters rent free the family still has bills to pay. Her husband's job, along with their house and all of their possessions were washed away by the tsunami. Her husband has only been able to find part-time work at a gasoline station. So, now the 39-year-old housewife will also be looking for work.

The Teruis are one of the 36 families which, beginning Sunday, moved into temporary housing erected on the grounds of the Takada Number 1 Junior High School.

Entrance to one of the hastily erected temporary houses.
Entrance to one of the hastily erected temporary houses.

Each home has electricity, running water, a small bath and toilet, a microwave and a television set.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, while on a visit to neighboring Miyagi prefecture Sunday, pledged to replicate on a vast scale what has been quickly accomplished in Rikuzentakata.

Mr. Kan told Miyagi officials that the central government intends to initially erect 70,000 temporary houses and will carry out construction of those homes as quickly as possible. The prime minister added that the government this week is convening a group of experts to draft the blueprint for the reconstruction effort.

After the visit, Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai told reporters he asked the prime minister to provide adequate assistance for his constituents whom he says have been suffering greatly since the earthquake and tsunami a month ago.

The governor says he hopes that the livelihoods can be restored for those in the worst-hit areas, where fishing and agriculture are the main industries.

Japanese acknowledge their country has never faced such a setback in peace time as the disaster they have been confronted with since March 11. But many are growing impatient, even expressing anger, with the seemingly slow pace of the clean up and rebuilding effort.

The central government has announced no timetable for its reconstruction efforts and has been criticized for vague and sometimes contradictory statements, especially those involving the crisis at the nuclear power facility.

The plant has spewed radiation into the atmosphere and sea for much of the past month.

Some political analysts say that, in large part, explains the thrashing the governing Democratic Party took in local elections Sunday in other parts of the country.

The main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which governed Japan for most of the post World War II era, has rebuffed Prime Minister Kan's repeated offers to form a grand coalition. That was seen as a way for the parties to temporarily put aside political difference and work together to expedite Japan's recovery from the worst event in its history since the Second World War.

Japanese officials say more than 13,000 people are confirmed dead with 14,000 still listed as missing.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs