Four months after the Great East Japan Earthquake, over 100,000 evacuees are staying in temporary accommodations–including about 24,000 people living in evacuation centers–according to government figures.
Also, more than 60 percent of debris in the three hardest-hit prefectures–Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima–has yet to be removed.
On Monday, the four-month anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, about 300 people, including bereaved relatives, attended a Buddhist ceremony to commemorate those who died and to pray for recovery at Fuseiji temple in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.
However, a clear outline for full-fledged restoration has not yet emerged under the stagnant administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, whose leadership has lost direction and who was recently forced to appoint a second disaster reconstruction minister little more than a week after the first minister was installed.
According to the National Police Agency, as of Monday 15,550 were confirmed dead as a result of the disaster and 5,344 were missing.
According to the Cabinet Office, a total of 99,236 evacuees were staying in temporary accommodations–that is, somewhere other than their own homes–as of June 30.
Although that is about 13,000 fewer than two weeks earlier, the figure does not include people who have moved into makeshift accommodation units that have been set up in 1,146 municipalities in all of the nation’s 47 prefectures.
According to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, a total of about 37,000 makeshift accommodation units had been completed in seven prefectures–Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Chiba, Tochigi and Nagano–as of Friday.
About 10,500 more units are under construction in the seven prefectures.
It was initially estimated that about 72,000 makeshift accommodation units would be needed in the seven prefectures, but that estimation had been revised to 50,583 as of Friday because of decreased demand. Some evacuees have moved into private rental accommodations, or moved to other areas.
It will be extremely difficult for the Kan administration to meet its target of ensuring that “all evacuees who wish to do so will be able to move into makeshift accommodation by the Bon period in mid-August.”
The Environment Ministry estimates that debris in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures totals about 22 million tons. About 34 percent of that had been removed to temporary storage sites as of July 5, according to the ministry.
The ministry is aiming to have all debris cleared from residential areas and near evacuation centers by the end of August.
Six municipalities in Iwate Prefecture have already been completely cleared of all debris, the ministry said.