Disaster victims abandoning efforts to rebuild homes

Disaster victims abandoning efforts to rebuild homes

‪#‎Wiederaufbau‬ in ‪#‎Tohoku‬ – Tohoku war auch schon vor der Katastrophe das vergessene Land in Japan. Nach der Katastrophe haben Städte wie ‪#‎Rikuzentakata‬ und ‪#‎Otsuchi‬ fast 30% der Einwohner verloren. Sie werden nicht zurückkehren. Aussichten, noch länger als 8 Jahre in temporären Wohnsiedlungen zu helfen, geben nicht gerade Hoffnung. Erst 10% vom Wiederaufbau ist verwirklicht. Dafür gibt es riesen Straßen Projekte, Betonmauern werden geplant, Berge abgetragen, Erde aufgefüllt – wann wird man dort bauen können, wer wird dort wohnen wollen? Der #Wiederaufbau steckt vollen Probleme. Diesen Problemen werden wir während der 2. deutsch-japanschen Summer School Sanriku Fukkou 2014 im September an der ‪#‎Sanriku‬ Küste auf den Grund gehen und gemeinsam mit den Bewohnern vor Ort über mögliche Alternativen und ‪#‎reziliente‬ ‪#‎Landschaftsplanung‬ nachdenken!

Disaster victims abandoning efforts to rebuild homes

An increasing number of disaster victims in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, hit hard by tsunami triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, are abandoning their efforts to rebuild their homes on land reclaimed by local governments.

The number of houses for which local governments plan to reclaim land in accordance with requests from disaster victims living in evacuation shelters and elsewhere has dropped at least 20 percent over the last 15 months. There is even a municipality that saw a drop of more than 80 percent over the same period. Although disaster victims want to live in stand-alone houses which they are accustomed to, they are giving up on stalled government plans to secure or reclaim land for their houses, and instead they are moving into disaster recovery housing complexes or are moving out of their communities to look for rental houses or apartments.

Under the projects sponsored by the central government, local governments plan to help disaster victims rebuild their homes mainly through 1) collective relocation of communities to higher ground, 2) raising the ground level in affected areas, 3) helping fishery operators and other victims build their homes on higher ground or elevated land.

When the Reconstruction Agency compiled the number of houses scheduled to be built at the end of December 2012, 25 local municipalities in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures planned to build a total of 25,519 houses. But the total number dropped to 19,866 at the end of March this year — a drop of 5,653 units or 22.2 percent from the December 2012 level. Of the combined total, Iwate Prefecture accounted for 8,291 units (a drop of 17.8 percent), while Miyagi Prefecture had 11,575 units (down 25 percent). Residential land for only 608 houses — a mere 3 percent of the planned total — was reclaimed or fully developed by local governments by the end of March this year.

The Miyagi Prefecture city of Natori saw a drop of 82.9 percent to 353 units from the initial 2,068 units — the biggest margin of decline among those municipalities that are planning to build at least 200 houses each. A Natori city official said, „Even if we raise the ground level under a land readjustment program, many residents are rethinking living in a place hit by tsunami. Because there are only a few hills in the city, we can’t secure alternative sites.“ The Iwate Prefecture town of Yamada had a decline of 44.5 percent, followed by the prefectural city of Kamaishi at 29.9 percent.

Iwate University professor Junichi Hirota, who has been helping with a program to rebuild affected communities, said, „The longer the decisions on relocation sites and land reclamation are delayed, the larger the number of disaster victims who will abandon their efforts to rebuild their homes will be. The pace of land reclamation should be accelerated by swiftly addressing problems such as delays in securing land, failure to attract bidders for development projects, and sharp rises in construction costs. Depending on the intention of residents, developed land may not be used.“

June 19, 2014(Mainichi Japan)

Advertisements