NAGOYA – Piles of soaked tatami, furniture and other household items dot residential areas of Tokai, while dead fish, dogs and other pets lie on streets covered in mud left by the record downpours and heavy flooding that hit the region earlier this week. With about only 3,700 people still living in evacuation shelters — a fraction of the 400,000 forced out of their homes at the storm’s peak — the area is slowly recovering from its worst three days of weather in living memory.
|Debris from floods in the Tokai region is piled on the streets of Nishibiwajima, Aichi Prefecture.|
Nine people were killed and 74,000 households flooded due to the storm.
The office of Masaki Sato, 57, in the Ashihara district of Nagoya’s Nishi Ward, was flooded with muddy water when a river about 50 meters away breached its embankment.
“Computers in the office were ruined by the mud. I hope I can find floppy disks containing all my business information,” said Sato, who was raking mud from the office floor.
Many residents of Nishibiwajima, Aichi Prefecture, which was completely flooded, are crowding the town office to demand public housing. Their muddied homes are uninhabitable and they are tiring of the evacuation centers.
A 30-year-old male evacuee who declined to be named said the elementary school gymnasium where he had been staying was closed and he has been forced to move to a community hall.
“I am not sure how long they will allow me to stay here,” he said. Negotiations with his landlord will be necessary if he hopes to return to his apartment, which was damaged in the flooding, he said.
A car dealer in Kita Ward has lost millions in damage to vehicles when about 230 new cars parked in his lot were submerged in the flood. Each vehicle was priced between 1 million yen and 3 million yen, according to the dealer. “This is a very serious financial blow,” a 43-year-old employee of the dealer said.
In the Furukawa district of Nagoya’s Tenpaku Ward, a row of small assembly plants near the Tenpaku River were also flooded. The water was up to a meter deep.
Employees at the factories have been busy mopping up the mud and cleaning the offices.
The 67-year-old owner of a plastic parts manufacturer said his company and other small businesses had already been struggling due to the recession. This disaster will bring only additional hardship, he said.
A shoe store in Nagoya’s Nishi Ward is doing its best to salvage the business. It has on display about 100 pairs of soaked shoes being sold at half-price.
“We are trying to sell them, even at half-price,” said the store’s 30-year-old manager. “But we are only selling rain boots.”
Some shoes on display are not even in pairs. “I know no one will buy them,” he said with a bitter smile.
The Ground Self-Defense Force and municipal health officials have started disinfection work on the streets of Nagoya, Nishibiwajima and other flood-hit areas.
The Aichi Prefectural Government also plans to distribute fliers, warning residents about possible outbreaks of food poisoning and other epidemics.
The Nagoya Municipal Government is trying to collect garbage piled up on the streets, it said.
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