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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs