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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More