National

Hundreds of temporary housing units planned for rain-hit Ehime Prefecture and city of Kurashiki

JIJI

Work has started on the construction of 158 temporary housing units in Ehime Prefecture for people whose houses were destroyed or heavily damaged by floods or landslides caused by the torrential rain that hit western Japan earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the prefectural government of Okayama plans to build 200 temporary housing units in the city of Kurashiki, which was also hit hard by the disaster.

In Ehime, 60 units will be built at two locations in the city of Ozu and 98 at two sites in the city of Seiyo, prefectural government officials said. The wooden houses will likely be completed by late August, they said.

People moving into the temporary units will in principle be allowed to live in the houses for up to two years. Rents will be covered by the prefectural government, while utility costs will be borne by residents.

Kimio Yano, 66, a restaurant owner in Seiyo, saw his house flood and become uninhabitable in the rain disaster. He recently moved from the home of a relative to an evacuation center with his mother, who is nearly 90 years old.

Yano has applied for one of the planned temporary housing units. He said that it remains to be seen when he will be able to reopen his restaurant. “I don’t feel calm right now,” Yano said, noting that he has a lot to do, including completing procedures to obtain a disaster victim certificate and demolishing his damaged house.

“I’ll think about things I should do over time after I move into the temporary housing,” he said.

Elsewhere in Ehime, the city of Uwajima — also heavily damaged by the rain disaster — is in talks with the prefectural government over the construction of temporary housing there.

The 200 housing units in Kurashiki will be constructed in its Mabicho district, wide areas of which were flooded, and at four other locations in nearby districts.

The Okayama Prefectural Government plans to launch construction work in August. “We hope to allow residents to move into the housing by September at the earliest,” an official said.

More housing will be constructed if needed.

As of Monday, more than 2,300 Kurashiki citizens, mainly from Mabicho, had been evacuated, according to the city’s disaster response headquarters.

The Okayama Prefectural Government has earmarked funds for 1,000 temporary housing units under a recently compiled supplementary budget.

“We’ve picked spacious sites for the temporary housing so that people who will move into the housing can maintain their communities to a certain extent,” Kurashiki Mayor Kaori Ito said at a news conference on Monday. “I hope that the temporary housing will make residents feel at ease, even if only slightly,” she added.

Ito said that the city will consider creating spaces enabling residents of the temporary housing to interact with one another, and will offer a bus service for them.