About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Harsh Winter Ahead for Japan's Tsunami Refugees

by Thilaka Ravi on December 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM
Font : A-A+

 Harsh Winter Ahead for Japan's Tsunami Refugees

As the climate gets colder in Japan's disaster-hit northeast, thousands of people in temporary homes are bracing to face a long, hard and very cold winter.

Snow and driving winds will add to the misery of tsunami survivors in a region where the temperature frequently dips below freezing through December, January and February.


Many lost their homes when the huge waves swept ashore on March 11, killing 20,000 people and grinding whole neighbourhoods into matchwood.

In Ishinomaki, one of the hardest-hit coastal settlements, more than half of the city's 61,000 houses were either swept away completely or severely damaged by the tsunami.

City authorities have built more than 7,000 temporary homes that are now providing shelter for around 6,800 families.

Heaters, insulation, new tatami straw mats and even electrically heated toilet seats have all been provided, said a city official.

A further 6,500 families have moved into apartments rented by the local government on their behalf.

But thousands of others are not so fortunate.

Ishinomaki officials concede they are unsure how up to 20,000 families will be keeping warm this winter.

"They must be either staying with relatives far away or living in their own house if the damage was not so bad," an official said.

"But we don't have much information about them."

Hideko Kamiyama and her family were confined to the upper floor of their partially-destroyed home for months, as they patiently waited for craftsmen to transform the lower floor from a mess of broken and rotting timbers.

"Our house was almost completely destroyed in the disaster, but many volunteers and carpenters worked hard to repair it," she said, wrapping her jacket tighter against the cold.

"It's 80 percent repaired now, and volunteers gave us heaters and carpets.

"(They also) gave me various things such as patches you can stick on your back to warm you up. I think I can handle the winter now, no matter how cold it gets," Kamiyama said.

In a town that registered a low of minus eight degrees Celsius (17 degrees Fahrenheit) in February, Kamiyama will need all the warmth she can get.

People allocated temporary homes have few complaints about the austere conditions in which they currently live, but are desperately hoping a more permanent solution can soon be found.

Ishio Abe and his family of five have been living in just three rooms since May.

The homes are intended to be used for just two years, but, says Abe, he does not know if this will be long enough.

"We were given a stove as well as electric carpets. I think we are good for now but I have no job and I wonder what I am going to do next," he said.

Yoshinori Sato of the Ishinomaki City Council said authorities are working hard, but they know that real recovery will only come when residents have a sense of long-term security.

"Rebuilding houses takes time, we don?t really know how long yet," he said.

"Once we have some idea, we can start telling the people when they can move back into real houses."

Source: AFP

News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Diet and Oral Health: The Sugary Connection May Become Sour
World AIDS Day 2022 - Equalize!
Test Your Knowledge on Sugar Intake and Oral Health
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Top Ten Healthy Winter Foods Stay Well This Winter 

Most Popular on Medindia

Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Vent Forte (Theophylline) Accident and Trauma Care How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Diaphragmatic Hernia Sinopril (2mg) (Lacidipine) Indian Medical Journals The Essence of Yoga A-Z Drug Brands in India Blood Pressure Calculator
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Harsh Winter Ahead for Japan's Tsunami Refugees Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests