And that is the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan’s Tohoku region very hard. As of May 13, more than 15,000 people have been killed, 9,506 are still missing, and about 115,500 are still living in 2,425 evacuation shelters, according to the National Police Agency.
After more than 2 months since the quake and tsunami, the disaster-hit areas look almost the same as on March 11 after the tsunami. There are many areas still without power and water, and at some shelters the lack of food and water is chronic. At a shelter in Minami Soma City (large part of the city is now designated as “planned evacuation zone”), a meal used to consist of one riceball, banana and milk until very recently.
PM Kan and his administration can plan all they want for their grand vision for Tohoku (those “eco-towns” made by shaving off the mountains, for example), but the reality on the ground is that no one in power is paying much actual attention.
Here’s a ground-level report by one volunteer who went to Tohoku to help people get on their feet. The original is in Japanese, edited and translated by Tokyo Brown Tabby who is a friend of this volunteer. (I edited the English for length and style.)