Japan Today

Last shelter in Iwate closes; 3,700 evacuees still in shelters in Miyagi


The last remaining shelter in Iwate Prefecture for evacuees from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami closed on Wednesday. In the weeks after the disaster, more than 1,300 people stayed in the shelter -- a school gymnasium in Yamada town. According to an NHK report, all the evacuees have moved into temporary housing.

Most shelters in Fukushima Prefecture have also closed as evacuees moved into housing units. Nine shelters, with 130 evacuees, remain open, but they are scheduled to be closed by the beginning of October.

Of the other tsunami-hit areas, Miyagi Prefecture has the largest number of evacuees still living in shelters. Some 3,700 people remain in 138 shelters because the building of temporary housing units has been slow, NHK reported, adding that the largest number is 1,800 in Ishinomaki.

Evacuees told media that the housing units have been built in inconvenient locations for those with jobs and far away from schools and hospitals. Others who have no jobs said they are worried about paying for living costs.

Meanwhile, the Fukushima prefectural government said Wednesday that the population has dropped below 2 million for the first time in 33 years due to so many people being displaced because of the tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis.

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Living in a gym or similar shelter for 6 months must be an unbelievable ordeal. I really hope more satisfactory housing can be built or found for them!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agreed, about the long ordeal. I'm glad that something could be worked out so that the people would move into the temp houses. Food availability and distribution was a hold up in Yamada, I believe, but I stand to be corrected. Heda?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not surprised they are dumped away from jobs and essential services. Hello Work should provide for those without work. My respect goes out to those who had to live in shelters.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Seems like they are kicking these people out and not giving any sort of assistance, these people dont have house, goods, money or jobs, what are they to do?

1 ( +2 / -1 )


Money from those billions was used to buy refrigerators, tables, television, cookers, water heaters, bathtubs, for thes thousands of houses, Jobs to return, but most of the industries in these coastal towns were directly impacted and will take time to get back up and running. Oyster beds, fisheries, etc.. You need the ports and marinas rebuilt. The processing plants. Boats need replacing. These things take time as well as money.

And some donations are being directed towards just such projects and purchases. Buying a new tractor, refurbishing a fishing boat, etc., but those tend to be smaller scale, project-based initiates, as opposed to the big lump of money that came in to the Red Cross. There's more pressure there for that to be spread "fairly" so it is easiest used for things everyone needs - like a fridge. Buying one fishing boat for the fisherman's association of a small village to share is something done by, say, a Rotary club in a sister city.

Why do you assume bureacracy is sucking up money? Do you personally wish to discourage people from giving?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ask Thaksin to bring them to Chiangmai ...

lol ...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )


I don't know about Yamada to be honest but I know that some areas are still suffering more than others due to the way they were affected if you compare Rikuzentakata and Kesennuma for example. Both next to each other, both badly hit but one of them has a functioning town and the other has nothing.

The Red Cross has provided a lot of electricla products to people in temporary housing but I'm also hearing stories of people pawning them off so that they have sufficient money for food, utilities etc. I've been pretty outspoken about the Red Cross but there have been some amazing work done through money raised.

The tractor story is wonderful (for anyone interested) http://foreignvolunteersjapan.blogspot.com/2011/07/time-to-plant-those-seeds.html and shows how donations can really help to make a difference.

I'm personally still trying to raise money/deliver food to people who need it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sorry... hit submit too early.

And there are many, many people who are doing the same. It's amazing how many people that I've met who have gone up and done a bit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@taj-I know many people in Red Cross but nobody has a clue where the money is going or has gone. I think that it is pertinent that instead of cash donations, people are being allocated housing and white goods -this is not always necessary .In a lot of cases people need to be able to get away from these radioactive areas to begin a life elsewhere. Isn't it amazing that there are still people going hungry? Children living in zones where they are being irradiated and passing radioactive substances in their bodily wastes? Why is there a need to build housing when so much housing in Japan is vacant? Who benefits the most from these policies?

I see the hand of authoritarianism all around Japan but I see it most active in Tohoku!

0 ( +1 / -1 )


I mean this with the greatest respect but you don't know what you're talking about.

People aren't going hungry but they gladly accept donations of food from people because it will help them to stretch whatever finances they have available. This was a disaster on an unprecedented level and until you are there and you see it all around you and on every stretch of coast you cannot possibly begin to comprehend what has taken place since March 11.

It's AMAZING that the people in Iwate are now out of the shelters. When I first went to Iwate in early April they seemed to already be behind Fukushima and Miyagi. It's certainly far easier to get to those two places and I know of volunteers taking part in the clean up operation when Iwate was still desperate for food and it's remarkable that they've jumped ahead. And on a personal level I am delighted to see it.

Oh and to answer your question about who benefits most, the simple answer is the people who have lost everything.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Plenty of housing being offered to these people but they refuse to move. Not sure what they're trying to accomplish by staying in that shelter...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

" see the hand of authoritarianism all around Japan but I see it most active in Tohoku!"

Sorry, but exactly where? What part are you in kurisupisu?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

100% of the money is reaching those affected people? I don,t think so.

Some money is always needed for overhead. Costs of telecom and electricity at a minimum for organization. That's not what I call bureacracy. And not an excuse to fold your arms and say, there's no point giving! (not that I accuse you of that, i just get really, REALLY, tired of people who do pull that, using tales of bureacratic excesses at the Red Cross as their excuse.

Seriously, if you don't want to donate, no need to spread negativity and rumour in order to not feel bad about yourself.

So, when, for example, kurisupisu says he has acquaintances in the RC who have no idea where the money is going, I wonder, "why does he/she say that?" Why wouldn't such people read the financial statements if they wanted information? The Red Cross, while by no means perfect, is very transparent with it's finances.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know a few volunteers on the ground not only here in Japan, but in Haiti, Mozambique etc..and have not heard anything positive about the Red Cross, ever! So, Marcelito, Taj etc..sorry but I would not give 1 cent to them ever, not to the Red Cross. Although I do not trust the Red Cross, this is only the tip of the iceberg, now many yakuza, chinpira etc..are going door to door for so called donations, guess where that $$$ will go?? Yes, to your local yakuza! So beware!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's completely and utterly wrong to suggest that the Japanese government haven't been providing for the people up there. If you asked the average person they would be extremely thankful for the electrical appliances etc that they've received from the Red Cross. But that doesn't compare with the food etc that they've been receiving through the government.

It's 5 and a half months since the disaster and whilst I and countless others have been driving around the countryside with a truck load of food it's a tiny, tiny amount compared with what was needed and what was provided by the authorities.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

apologies, Marcelito, for my lack of clarity. my 2:01 post was aimed directly at kurisupisu, not you. It's not my place to thank you and your family as it wasn't for me, but I can tell you I appreciate and admire your contributions.

Heda, ditto to you. Your on-the-ground work, as well as your bothering to come in here and try to give people a better understanding of reality than what normally froths about on such websites.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks Taj. I was in the fortunate position of joining the FVJ quite early so I could learn how it was possible to help. I also had a good selection of friends who were keen to get involved in one way or another and I was able to take time to do it. A lot of people (hundreds) have supported the work that I've been able to do in one way or another, but only a few of us have been fortunate enough to work on the ground. And at the end of the day I've mostly just been driving a truck.

I've been very outspoken about the red cross, and I've been very defensive of the Japanese government especially with regards to their initial response. They both could have done better - as could we all, but you really cannot appreciate the scale of the task until you're up there.

And well done to everything that you've done up there as well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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