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 Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs