Temporary housing in Tohoku to get new life after evacuees move out

Temporary housing for evacuees of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Temporary housing for evacuees of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

 

By HIDEAKI ISHIBASHI/ Senior Staff Writer

Prefabricated temporary housing for disaster evacuees in Miyagi Prefecture will find new uses as a warehouse and nursing facilities after residents vacate them.

The prefectural government said it will transfer some of the buildings to a private entity at no cost rather than have them dismantled.

Prefectural officials said it is practical to continue utilizing the buildings, given that building a prefab home has become increasingly costly in recent years.

It will mark the first time former temporary housing for evacuees of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami has been donated in the three disaster-stricken prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate.

The buildings are two in Kesennuma and one in Sendai, both in Miyagi Prefecture, all of which were used as makeshift nursing homes. The private organization that operated the facilities will take over the three buildings. The two in Kesennuma will be used as centers where senior citizens can receive outpatient nursing care.

The one in Sendai will be moved to Natori, also in the prefecture, where it will become a warehouse.

The prefectural government and the organization are expected to sign the official transfer agreements by the end of March.

After the earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan in March 2011, more than 53,000 prefab units were constructed to house evacuees.

It costs about 7.3 million yen ($60,330) in Miyagi Prefecture and about 6.17 million yen in Iwate Prefecture to build such a unit.

The price has surged due to a steep rise in costs for building materials and labor, as well as for insulation materials.

Of the 53,000 units, 10,000 will be leased by prefab makers after evacuees leave them.

But for the remainder, money from national coffers will fund their dismantlement and disposal.

The Miyagi prefectural government has been soliciting requests for use of prefab buildings from local governments and nonprofits to help save money and reuse them.

The three buildings in question were among nine such units that the prefectural government put up for grabs.

By HIDEAKI ISHIBASHI/ Senior Staff Write
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