Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Patience running out among Japan's disaster refugees
by Staff Writers
Ishinomaki, Japan (AFP) March 10, 2014


The Takeyamas have tried to move on and forget the enormous waves that swept away relatives, their home and the lives they once had.

But the couple, both in their seventies, still spend countless nights staring at the ceiling of their tiny makeshift house, built after Japan's quake-tsunami disaster three years ago, thinking about better times.

Before a towering wall of water turned the northeast coast into a wasteland of shattered communities, Iwako Takeyama and her husband Toichi lived in a sturdy home in Ogatsu town, with a daughter and other family nearby.

"People say it's good to live close to a daughter and her family so they can bring you a cup of soup without getting it cold," said 73-year-old Iwako.

"But the tsunami flushed away both of our houses, ours and hers."

Like thousands of other survivors, the elderly couple lost relatives -- one sister, two brothers and a nephew -- after a huge undersea earthquake shook Japan at 2:46 pm on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Its 9.0 magnitude force unleashed a towering tsunami that travelled at the speed of a jet plane to the coast.

Within minutes, communities were turned to matchwood, and whole families had drowned.

Officially, more than 15,800 people are known to have died in the disaster. Another 2,636 are listed as missing.

The body of Toichi's sister was recovered about 30 kilometres (19 miles) offshore.

"We spent days looking for the bodies after the tsunami," Iwako said as her eyes filled with tears.

"We are finally feeling OK now."

- Hard lives, fading hope -

But while the nightmare fades for many in other parts of Japan, tens of thousands of refugees are still struggling to cope as the country gets set to mark the third anniversary of the disaster on Tuesday.

The government has pledged billions of dollars in reconstruction funds but the Takeyamas and many others are still struggling to make do in cramped temporary housing.

The stress of living in a 30-square-metre (320-square-feet) space has taken a heavy toll on their mental and physical health, they said. Toichi has been hospitalised twice since the disaster.

"You can tell exactly what your neighbour is doing next door, taking a bath or using the toilet," Toichi said. "We cannot even have a quarrel in private."

They hope to move to newly built community housing, but that could still be several years away.

Japan has so far built only 3.5 percent of the new housing promised to refugees in heavily affected Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.

The local government of Fukushima prefecture, where a tsunami-crippled nuclear plant is located, does not even have a number for how many new houses it needs to house evacuees forced to flee the worst atomic crisis in a generation.

As a result of the tsunami and Fukushima crisis, among almost 270,000 evacuees as of last month, 100,000 are in temporary housing. It remains unclear how many more years it will take to build all the needed post-disaster housing.

- Struggling to make ends meet -

In the town of Onagawa, many refugees have tried to keep busy by making Japanese-style sandals with donated T-shirts, selling them for 1,500 yen ($15) to make ends meet -- and trying to forget their grim reality.

"I wonder if I will be still alive when we move out of this temporary house," said Kazuko Kimura, 86. "I want to die in a new house with no worries about the future."

Sawako Kishi, 76, spends many sleepless nights haunted by the uncertainty.

The devout Buddhist has an altar in the small bedroom of her family's tiny makeshift home, with their belongings and futon taking up most of the living space. They hold out hope for a permanent home, but progress has been slow in the rugged mountain town.

"They first have to cut into the mountainside and build a new road tunnel. Building our house will come after that," she said.

Among the myriad challenges, many lots on higher ground are the property of hundreds of small landowners who are loathe to give up their real estate.

"This is the biggest challenge and we should look at changing the law" to make it easier to build public housing on those plots, said Kosuke Motani, chief economist at Japan Research Institute.

With the focus on rebuilding, the government has barely scratched the surface in dealing with refugees' mental health, said Tsuyoshi Akiyama, a neuropsychiatry doctor and clinical professor at Tokyo University.

"Whatever choices disaster victims make, they face some sort of mental stress in one way or another," he said.

.


Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Australia rescues 13 shipwrecked Iranians off Pakistan
Sydney (AFP) March 05, 2014
An Australian warship has rescued 13 Iranians shipwrecked off Pakistan on its way to the Middle East to join an international force conducting counter-terrorist and anti-piracy operations, officials said Wednesday. HMAS Darwin came across the men, some elderly, on Saturday in calm seas after their boat was reportedly struck by an unknown vessel and sank. They claimed to have been adrift for ... read more


DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Australia rescues 13 shipwrecked Iranians off Pakistan

UN report sees $1.45 tn global warming cost: media

Corpses still being found in Philippine typhoon zone

Tunisian navy 'rescues 98 sub-Saharan migrants'

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Video games target Japan's silver generation

Candy Crush sweetens gaming for female audience

Saving planet goes from video game to real-world craze

Save Money and the Planet: Turn Your Old Milk Jugs into 3D Printer Filament

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Researchers gain new insights into ancient Pacific settlers' diet

New Technique Allows Frequent Water Quality Monitoring For Suite of Pollutants

3D scans map widespread fish disease

Urgent need to study the impacts of biomass burning and haze on marine ecosystems

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Warm Rivers Play Role in Arctic Sea Ice Melt

10,000 years on the Bering land bridge

Ancestors of America's original people lived on long-gone land bridge

Dartmouth-led research shows temperature, not snowfall, driving tropical glacier size

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Fertilizer in small doses yields higher returns for less money

Japan to halve tuna catch in Northern Pacific: reports

Livestock can produce food that is better for the people and the planet

Cows are smarter when raised in pairs

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Japan widower dives tsunami waters to bring wife home

First-ever 3D image created of the structure beneath Sierra Negra volcano

Activity more than location affects perception of quakes

European flood risk could double by 2050

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
South Sudan intercepts 'mislabelled' UN weapons shipment

Fighting breaks out in South Sudan army barracks

UN extends easing of Somalia weapons embargo

Nigerian military claim killing 13 Islamists in camp raid

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Abandoned Spanish villages, given away for free

Brain circuits multitask to detect, discriminate the outside world

'Seeing' bodies with sound (no sight required)

Research reveals first glimpse of brain circuit that helps experience to shape perception




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.