ROAD vol.16 Evacuees' Short Comments
by Voices from the Field Admin - Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 09:44 AM



Read the prologue to the evacuees' comments listed below

・The temporary housing here is fine unlike others, isn’t it? It only has two rooms and a kitchen but it’s good. The temporary housing gets hot in summer and freezes in winter, so it’s harsh. Now I have a son who is a high school freshman. My wife passed away early, so I have raised him alone. Young kids these days are addicted to games so much, by the way. He is playing them all day. (A man in his 50s)

・I go to the hospital these days because of low back pain. I go there by bike, and it takes 40 minutes one way. The way back is harder because of the uphill slope. (A man in his 60s)
・Although I had prepared for an emergency by putting together some personal items before the earthquake happened, I had put them away in a closet. When this disaster occurred, I was going to take them with me, but other stuff in the closet got in the way. So I was only able to escape with a bottle of water. On top of that, I had grabbed a half-empty bottle  for some reason. (A woman in her 60s)

・I asked the welfare office if I could go around to greet everyone. They told me to wait, and now a month has passed since then. It’s just the same as in politics. Bureaucratic work is so slow. (A man in his 70s, Ishinomaki Temporary Housing, Feb. 5, 2012)

・When the staff from the council for social welfare visit an older resident and no one answers the door, they just turn around and go away. It is too heartless because the elderly who live alone usually cannot hear well, or they might even be sick and have passed out. We really hope that the council staff will work more carefully and properly confirm each elderly person’s condition, instead of just doing their duties bureaucratically. (A woman in her 60s, Kesennuma Temporary Housing, Apr. 28, 2012)

・During the early days after I moved into this temporary housing, many people would visit me one after another asking me, “How are you?”, “Is everything OK?”, or something like that. That’s helpful for the elderly, but it’s also kind of boring to talk about the same thing every day. Since I broke my leg a couple of years ago, it is tough for me to sit down. It made it bothersome for me to attend to guests at home every day. So I told the municipal officer that I rather would like to be at the community center enjoying a cup of tea. Since then we started to have various activities at the community center such as sewing, karaoke, cooking or just tea breaks, and in this way we started to have gatherings. The guy next to me is 90 years old! Even people who seem senile will get dressed, lock their door, and come over here even though it takes them an hour to do so. Still they come. Isn’t it great? (A woman in her 70s, Yamamoto Temporary Housing, May. 25, 2012)

・We had evacuated to our son’s place in Sendai right after the earthquake, so we could not receive any official support from our town office. We had consulted the Sendai city office about possible support for us, but it turned out that we were not qualified to receive any support from them. We had to borrow money, you know, because all of our stuff had been washed away. (A woman in her 70s, Yamamoto, temporary housing, August 26, 2012)

・Current politics is no good. It is not the time to be dissolving the House of Representatives. (A woman in her 80s, Kamaishi, temporary housing, September 8, 2012)

・(Talking to ashiyu volunteer staff) Ah, you guys visit Miyagi prefecture and Iwate prefecture as well. How are they doing? It must be difficult for them to keep hope. Some people received damages from the tsunami in Fukushima prefecture as well. I feel sorry for them. Well, it is said that it will take 20 years for Fukushima to recover …. I am from Futaba town in Fukushima. You know, its town office functions had to be moved to Saitama prefecture. I assume it must be a difficult time for the mayor, too. (A woman in her 60s, Tokyo, September 8, 2012)

・I had always tried to talk and smile with others while standing in a line to receive a toothbrush, something to eat, etc. at an evacuation center because it usually took about 2 hours to receive something. Though some politicians had come to visit, we had been offended because they had just waved their hands and left quickly. We also had seriously answered interviews with newspaper reporters, but they didn’t write about the (inconvenient) truth, so I felt they couldn’t be trusted. I am glad that the volunteers stay for a long time. (A woman in her 60s, Kooriyama, support station, September 13, 2012)

・I haven’t gone to the sea since then because I don’t know where to evacuate in case another tsunami comes. (A woman in her 60s)

・The mailbox is so far from my home it’s hard for me to go there. Especially in the hot weather, it’s difficult. But I put letters in the mail to have an exchange with the footbath volunteers. (A woman in her 60s)