6 months later…
Much rubble has been cleared, leaving vast empty mud fields. Makeshift shelters at schools and public halls have closed after temporary housing was hastily constructed. But mental scars will take longer to heal. “People talk about recovery, but there is no such thing here,” said fisherman Take Tachibana, 66, still searching for his sister’s body after the tsunami took his house, his boat and 600 lives from his town of Yamada.
Facing huge compensation costs, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) made initial payments of one million yen ($13,000) per family, but this has failed to soothe anger about lost homes, jobs and livelihoods and potential longterm health risks. The government estimates that at least 70,000 people in the three tsunami-hit prefectures – Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate – lost their jobs due to the disaster, but analysts say the figure is far higher.
“The nuclear accident did not only open Pandora’s box, it destroyed it and took away the hope left inside.”
Iodine 131 is again showing up in sewer sludge, indicating some criticality in the fuel at the plant. TEPCO still struggles with the contaminated water at the plant. TEPCO says they will start clearing debris off the top of units 3 and 4 this month. TEPCO has time to release a 565 page document nobody asked for to refute scientific theories on unit 3′s melt through. If only they put that effort into something more useful, like making sure workers have adequate contracts, pay and benefits.
Significant radiation is now known to have spread north and west to other prefectures, making this more than a Fukushima problem.
The population of Tokyo is decreasing. Even with evacuees from Tohoku region and a typical increase due to new jobs and university enrollment was not enough to undo the numbers fleeing Tokyo for somewhere safer. Some businesses have also opted to relocate.
Source: CNN & AFP
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