Tohoku residents rattled by latest evacuation

Kyodo

Residents of coastal areas in the Tohoku region sought refuge in nearby facilities early Thursday after an earthquake off Chile’s northern coast on Tuesday night triggered a tsunami alert.

“I’m fed up with tsunami,” said Masaki Murakami, a 26-year-old company worker who took shelter with the rest of his four-member family at an evacuation center in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture.

Murakami, whose home was destroyed by the massive tsunami in 2011, rebuilt his house on the same lot but with elevated foundations.

On Thursday morning, however, he left his home as soon as he heard the tsunami alert.

“I haven’t gotten much sleep. Every time I hear the alarm, the sounds brings the memories of what we went through three years ago,” he said, looking tired.

Meanwhile, about 30 people gathered Thursday morning in their designated evacuation center in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, a gymnasium in an elementary school.

“The Great East Japan Earthquake caused land subsidence (in this area) and the sea walls near my house haven’t been repaired since,” said Mariya Matsusaka, 65, whose house was flooded by the tsunami in March 2011.

“I couldn’t feel secure,” she added as she watched a tsunami update on a TV.

Fishing boats based in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, and other areas left their ports and rode out the tsunami in open waters.

A group of oyster farmers in the Shizugawa branch of Miyagi Prefecture’s Central Union of Fisheries Credit Guarantee Fund agreed to halt work at their oyster-shucking facilities, which are situated by the sea.

“It hurts, but if we want to ensure the safety (of workers), we have no other choice,” said Katsuhiko Endo, 61.

Tsunami warnings after the Chilean earthquake also triggered the cancellation of some ferry services connecting Miyagi Prefecture’s Kesennuma with the isle of Izu Oshima.

“The memory of the massive tsunami still remains fresh in my mind,” said a 62-year-old truck driver who had intended to board a ferry at the terminal in Kesennuma.

In Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, officials postponed a fish auction as a precaution.