Poll highlights refugees’ difficulties in rebuilding homes


Prospects for housing remain tenuous for many refugees 2½ years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a new poll shows.

Two-thirds of the 213 refugees in temporary housing in Morioka reported there was no chance of rebuilding their homes, city officials said Monday.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents to the poll, conducted in August and September, said they have no land or funds to build new homes. In addition, 15 percent said they have either land or the funds, but not both.

The majority of the respondents were 60 or above. Most are from coastal areas devastated by tsunami. Some are from Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

Nearly 38 percent of the respondents said they hope to settle in Morioka. But 25.0 percent want to return to their former residences and 32.1 percent have no specific plan.

“As a pensioner, I have no financial resources to build a new home,” one respondent said in a written response to the poll.

“Unless I find a job, I cannot make any housing plan,” another said.

  • phu

    Here we have two hundred and thirteen people made homeless by a natural disaster. Something that can’t reasonably, rationally be laid at anyone’s feet; they’re just unlucky. That happens.

    And yet what else do we have? We have a government, whose purpose is to protect these people (like all its people), ready to spend billions on new Olympic facilities in Tokyo.

    Priorities, people. For a small fraction of the Olympic budget (the final value of which will be massively higher than the current ‘estimate’ with almost 100% certainty), these people could be provided with housing. Even aside from the very obvious humanitarian concern, this is a really, really easy way for Japan to actually make a decision the entire world can look at and say “hey, they did something really, truly, obviously right and good.”

    Japan needs that right now. Well, every nation does, but this is an incredibly easy way for Japan to get that great PR, both locally and internationally.