Three months have passed since the first in a series of powerful earthquakes hit Kumamoto Prefecture and surrounding regions in southwestern Japan. Many people who evacuated have not yet been able to return home.
A quake measuring the maximum intensity of 7 on the Japanese scale hit the region on April 14th.
The series of jolts killed 49 people in Kumamoto Prefecture. Another 6 people were confirmed to have died due to the effects of the quake, such as illness caused by poor living conditions. One person is missing.
Officials say about 4,700 people are still living in evacuation facilities and many others are taking shelter in their garages, or in tents outside their homes.
On Thursday, a disaster task force at the Kumamoto City office began a meeting by offering silent prayers for the victims.
In the hard-hit town of Mashiki, many damaged houses have yet to be cleared or repaired.
A shop owner in the town says he doesn’t know when he can reopen for business. He says he first wants to move into temporary housing.
Prefectural officials say only 40 percent of the temporary housing units they plan to build have been completed so far.
A man in Mashiki Town who has been able to move into temporary housing says he can only live in the house for 2 years and he is worried about what will happen after that.
Source and image: NHK