by Keisuke Sato / The Asahi Shimbun / May 19, 2015 /
Nearly 70 percent of evacuees from areas around the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have family members complaining of physical or mental problems, a recent survey showed.
Released by the Fukushima prefectural government, the survey covering fiscal 2014 revealed that 66.3 percent of households that fled the disaster area–after the nuclear crisis triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami–have at least one member suffering health problems. The figure was 67.5 percent in the previous survey covering fiscal 2013.
In February, the prefecture sent questionnaires to all 59,746 households that evacuated for the latest study–the second of its kind–and received responses from 18,767 households, or 33.6 percent.
Of the respondents, 13,703 households, or 73 percent, said they were forced to evacuate, while 5,054, or 27 percent, said they voluntarily evacuated.
The survey covered about 20 categories, such as the state of the lives of the evacuees, their health conditions and their intent to return to their homes.
Asked about what bothers them, 57.9 percent said they cannot sleep well. While 56.6 percent said they are unable to enjoy their daily lives as they did before the disaster, 49.3 percent said they tire more easily.
Households that are still in temporary housing or rented apartments for evacuees accounted for 62.1 percent, a 10-percentage-point decrease from the previous survey. Meanwhile, 19.7 percent–10 points higher than the first study–said they live in their own homes.
Although in the fiscal 2013 survey, 40.4 percent hoped they would be allowed to continue living in temporary housing longer than originally planned, 48.7 percent hope so in the latest findings.
In the latest study, 55.8 percent said they hope to continue living in temporary housing because the evacuation order has yet to be lifted for their hometowns. While 42.1 percent said they are currently unable to rebuild their homes on their own, 40.0 percent said they do not have sufficient funds to leave temporary housing.
In March, the central government released results of its survey of nine municipalities ordered to evacuate since the onset of the Fukushima crisis. The prefectural survey asked evacuees from areas other than the nine municipalities where they hoped to reside in the future. The latest findings show 37.3 percent of households that are evacuees living within Fukushima Prefecture said they hope eventually to return to their homes. Those who want to settle where they currently reside accounted for 16.5 percent, and 11.7 percent said they have yet to decide where to live in the future.
In contrast, 31.6 percent of households that evacuated outside the prefecture said they have not determined where to live in the future, whereas respondents who want to settle where they now live or return to their hometowns accounted for 24.2 percent and 19.8 percent, respectively.
SOURCE: The Asahi Shimbun