japan_quake18_04via NHK World / Sep 11, 2013 / More than 215,000 people are still living away from home in 3 Japanese prefectures 2-and-a-half years after the March 11 disaster.

On this day 30 months ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan.

The National Police Agency says 15,883 people are confirmed to have died in the disaster and 2,654 remain unaccounted for.

The Reconstruction Agency says 2,688 people fell ill and died after evacuation.

The evacuees from the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima are living in temporary housing or rented apartments.

The construction of public housing for displaced people is making slow progress. Only 1.6 percent of the planned units, or 448, are complete in the 3 prefectures.

People who used to live near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant still do not know when they will be able to return.

The central government’s efforts to lower radioactive contamination levels in the evacuation areas are far behind schedule.

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