March 12, 2019– Mary Greeley News – A total of 51,778 people was still evacuated from their homes as of Feb. 7, though down about 20,000 from a year before, as Japan marked the eighth anniversary on Monday of the massive earthquake and tsunami, the Reconstruction Agency said.
About 32,600 residents of Fukushima Prefecture were still living outside the prefecture, after the disaster crippled Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
As of Friday, the death toll from the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami stood at 15,897 in 12 prefectures, with 2,533 others still missing, the National Police Agency said.
Including those who died for disaster-related reasons, including worsening injuries, the number of deaths exceeded 22,100, the Reconstruction Agency said.
There has been steady progress in the reconstruction of infrastructure, including roads, as the end of the government-set intensive reconstruction period, scheduled for March 31, 2021, or the end of fiscal 2020, is approaching.
On East Japan Railway Co.’s Yamada Line in Iwate Prefecture, the disaster-stricken coastal section between Miyako and Kamaishi stations is set to go back into service on March 23 following an eight-year suspension, after its operations are handed over to a public-private third-sector firm.
As of the end of January, about 29,000 units of public housing for people affected by the disaster had been completed in the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, making up about 98 percent of the planned total.
Still, 3,418 people were living in makeshift prefabricated housing in the three prefectures.
In Fukushima, evacuation advisories remain in place in the whole areas of Futaba and Okuma, the host towns of the nuclear plant.
Even in the nearby towns of Namie and Tomioka, where evacuation advisories have been partially lifted, the proportion of people who have returned home remains low.