National

Over 90% of homes flooded by Typhoon Hagibis ineligible for Japan government support

Kyodo

More than 90 percent of the approximately 68,000 homes that experienced water damage from the destructive Typhoon Hagibis saw flooding at levels of less than 1 meter, the government said Wednesday, making the homeowners unlikely to receive financial support under current law.

In cases of water damage, the law on financial assistance to disaster victims stipulates that they can be awarded up to ¥3 million for rebuilding. But this, in principle, is limited to flood levels of 1 meter or more above ground.

It remains to be seen if households that sustained extensive water damage, despite low flood levels, will receive support.

According to data collected by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, roughly 33,000 homes suffered “underfloor flooding,” meaning water soaked levels below the ground floor, while around 29,000 homes had their floors submerged but not destroyed.

The figures, which are only rough estimates, are expected to continue to rise.

Many of those affected are finding it difficult to live in their homes even if they are deemed to have not been destroyed by water, said Eiichi Yamasaki, a professor of social safety sciences at Kansai University in Osaka Prefecture.

“There is a disconnect between people being forced to pay large sums (for repairs) and the criteria (to assess damage),” he said, adding that the government should consider expanding the scope of the law or allow people to move into temporary housing, regardless of the level of damage.

The farm ministry said that, as of Wednesday, the typhoon had caused ¥87.6 billion in damage to the agricultural and fisheries industries in 37 of the nation’s 47 prefectures.

The amount, which has already exceeded the figure for last month’s Typhoon Faxai of around ¥50.9 billion, is expected to climb further as the ministry works to grasp the full extent of the damage.

Meanwhile, Ryota Takeda, minister for disaster risk reduction, said water is expected to be restored to all areas experiencing outages from the latest typhoon by the end of next week.

The infrastructure ministry said separately that drainage operations in residential areas of Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, have been completed, a move that has almost fully alleviated flooding in residential areas of the prefecture.