West Japan flood victims still living in despair a month after disaster: survey


Residents in western Japan stricken by the worst rain disaster in decades are still living in despair a month afterward, with many lacking funds to repair or rebuild their homes, a survey shows.

Nearly two-thirds of residents surveyed in the hardest-hit prefectures of Okayama, Hiroshima and Ehime said they are facing serious financial difficulties. A third said they are not happy with public relief measures.

Of 117 people surveyed by Kyodo News from July 28 to 31, 65.8 percent said they have little hope of resuming normal life in the foreseeable future, with more than half saying they do not know if they can repair their homes.

Only 7.7 percent said they are more or less satisfied with government aid, while 33.3 percent said they are not. Some 42.7 percent said they know little about the public aid available.

The state provides up to ¥1 million for rebuilding a home and an additional ¥2 million is available if certain conditions are met.

For partially damaged homes, the aid only covers the cost of repairing such essential items as toilets if residents cannot afford it, with up to around ¥580,000 available.

Some governments provide their own aid for home replacement or repair.

Ehime, for example, offers ¥750,000 to residents whose homes are destroyed or seriously damaged.

Other support measures include low-interest housing loans provided by a state-run organization.

Of respondents who said they were in need of financial support, 35.0 percent said they need ¥10 million or more, and 28.2 percent said they don’t have any idea.

“I’ve lost all of my daily necessities and I don’t have the faintest idea how much it will cost (to get back to normal),” a 58-year-old man in Ehime said.

“My home was destroyed and it would cost ¥30 million to rebuild it. I don’t see how the government aid can be of any help,” a 48-year-old man businessman in Okayama said.

The torrential rains and subsequent flooding and landslides in July killed 225 in 15 prefectures, according to the National Police Agency. A recent tally by Kyodo News shows a dozen people are still missing.

The NPA said more than 3,600 people were still living in evacuation shelters as of Friday.

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