The mortality rate of elderly residents of nursing-care facilities in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, jumped nearly 2.7 times after they evacuated the city in the days following the March 11, 2011, start of the nuclear disaster, due to poor living conditions, a study found.

The study, conducted by University of Tokyo researchers and released Wednesday, found some nursing home residents had to travel more than 300 km after enduring the Tohoku region's biting cold without heat or lunches for about a week. Researchers believe this may have contributed to the rise in the mortality rate.

"Many people who needed distinct and difficult assistance died at evacuation sites," a staff member at a nursing-care facility in Minamisoma said.