Some comforted, some cramped in evacuee shelters

By Jay Alabaster

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I would hardly descrie any of these poor people as "lucky" even if they were able to secure a temporary place at a once-grand hotel until June/July.

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Kids in relief centers aren't permitted to continue their schooling ? Wow. Is there not enough space ? Or maybe that they are not established in a permanent district ? Isn't that illegal or something ?

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They can attend school if there is one close-by that re-opened. Many families/kids been moved to other locations(Chiba, Tokyo, Saitama, ...) where they can attend local schools.

Hard to put anyone in a school when there is no guarantee they will be in the same district in 2 weeks, etc.

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miamum at 08:18 AM JST - 24th April I would hardly descrie any of these poor people as "lucky" even if they were able to secure a temporary place at a once-grand hotel until June/July.

Very true, I was put off reading that bit, no way could anyone from this terrible disaster be classified as lucky getting a place to bunk down at some palace. What's been taken from so many of these innocent people in an instant, we here take for granted everyday.

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All of the people of school age should be allowed to move to another prefecture and stay with family or volunteers so as to attend a school according to schedule. NO ONE should be denied access to education in the north while all kids everywhere else are going to school. I'm sure plenty of people would be happy to take kids in so they can go to school... maybe even the parents, too. I'd take one or two gladly (kids) if it would help their education and overall living conditions.

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Good point Smith. And I think that they ARE allowed to do so. People choose not to do so for various reasons. Would you believe that there are few students moving around even in Sendai? In many smaller towns, there is only one school, and nobody will split up the family.

Went to a chonaikai meeting today and heard from some doctors who had spent time in different shelters up north here. Before I get into that, I should say I am surprised at all the donating and "charity" going on throughout Japan. I hope that the money spent on massages was spent AFTER people made sure that those in the most remote areas are having basic needs met. Charity events and boxes are ubiquitous even in Sendai... and we are victims, aren't we?

The following are comments about Natori, Kessunuma, Ishinomaki and points north. The smell at many of the shelters is described by a physician as "overpowering", and I am thinking he has smelled worse things than I have. People seem to have their basic needs met: water, safety, food, etc. In many places, people are sleeping in shifts and snoring is an important long term problem. Diapers for young and old people will be a continuing problem.

Shelters have assumed different roles according to local or personal needs.

At some shelters, hundreds of people are basically living in cars parked nearby. People want to remain close to their wrecked homes, but rely on shelters for food, water, showers, communications, etc. In some places, there are apparently parking lots filled with people living in their cars. They have gathered for security. I have personally seen this in small clusters.

Other shelters are the sole living space. People will not even venture outside because they want to protect their "han", and they are afraid of aftershocks. Some of these people have homes that can be lived in, but they do not want to leave the certainty of the shelter, which reliably provides all services.

Then there are people living in their own homes, but who lack services. They go to the shelters for various reasons, obviously. Many areas lack shops, electricity and communications.

I want to point out a looming problem. It might be very enlightening for people who call themselves either a liberal or a conservative. Once a government evacuates people or sets up assistance, it creates clients. Whether it is Fukushima or Iwate, these people are now relying on bureaucrats to tell them what to do next, and to "assist" or at least "advise" them. If the government cannot follow through, it will be bad. If it does follow through, it might be bad. Local governments here announced that 100 000 prefab homes would be built. Are they eventually going to be dismantled and shipped someplace else, or are we building a Soweto? Are these people going to be independent again? How is that going to happen?

As I said above, and perhaps MIAMUM and SOUTHSAKAI cannot understand this, many people in shelters do not want to leave... maybe ever. Before 3.11 they were independent. Then they did not die. They are "lucky" to be alive. Now their expectations are extremely low. Many "settle" for security... and dependence.

Five weeks ago, there were 400 000 people in shelters and this was not a concern. Now there are 100 000 people there and probably another 50 000 or so who rely on them. Apparently there are 50 000 families in Fukushima who were displaced? Keep an eye on what happens to civilized society in the coming months. I think resources and bureaucracies can provide for "needs", but some of these commmunities are shattered... like Humpty Dumpty shattered. People will be afraid to start over until some real building gets going.

Nagata cho needs to do something bold and ambitious fast. More diapers and cup noodle will be necessary, but these people need higher purposes.

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The government has made 100000 or so people homeless. It is their order preventing them from returning home.

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The Japanese government always argues that it must regulate every aspect of citizens' lifestyles because it is paying their social welfare costs. The public are treated as children incapable of dealing with potentially dangerous situations. They will never force the government to take responsibility. It's the price of living in Japan.

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There are many, many generous people opening their homes for an indefinite period of time to evacuees. There are also many evacuation centers closer to Tokyo (e.g., Saitama) that aren't at full capacity. There seems to be a failure here of logistical planning, among other things.

As for the HS girl who can't go to school, that's truly unfortunate and I hope the government can fix that soon. Can they not prioritize moving families with school children to evacuation centers that have nearby schools with openings???

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Seeing as how HS is not a part of compulsory education here kids like the girl here are unfortunately not high on the list of priorities.

Prefectures from all over the country have offered assistance with relocating refugees from these disasters, however many of the people affected, understandably do not want to move, or relocate, even for a limited period of time. That is a problem as well.

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Time for some further relocation. I know I'd be trying to hitch rides down south closer if I found out about the much better conditions that evacuees are living in near Tokyo. Why stay when all of one's belongings are ruined anyways?

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There is a strong attachment to the land here, and for many their entire lives and generations before them were connected to the communities that they were living in, I would venture a guess that to some if not many the attachments are too strong to want to uproot themselves and their families and move away, particular at a time like this.

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