Tsunami-ravaged town holds draw for temporary housing
RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate — A draw for temporary housing for quake- and tsunami-displaced residents was held here April 5, with over 1,000 households applying for 36 openings.
At the makeshift city office, Mayor Futoshi Toba drew lots to choose 18 households from the general public to enter temporary housing along with 18 households consisting of elderly, disabled and single-mother families.
Altogether 960 applicants applied for housing for the general public — 53 times the number of openings, while special-purpose housing attracted 200 applicants, or 11 times the number of openings.
The city will announce the results of the draw after confirming whether successful applicants are qualified to live in the temporary housing, and residents will move into the dwellings around April 10.
The city of Rikuzentakata was the first in Japan to construct temporary housing for victims of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, building dwellings in the playground of a junior high school that has been serving as a shelter.
The city plans to build additional makeshift houses in eight districts, hoping to complete construction by the end of May.
“We’ve been moving on little by little, which I believe has reassured evacuees,” said Toba. “Today marks a new start. I will call on the central and prefectural governments to strive to accommodate those who wish to move into temporary housing to their new dwellings as soon as possible.”