The death toll from the recent storms has exceeded more than 200, with dozens still missing in the aftermath of Japan’s worst weather disaster in three decades.
After days of heavy downpours, the weather has finally cleared in western Japan. Residents are taking this opportunity to go back to their homes, but only to empty them of trash and debris as the storms have made many of them uninhabitable.
Although Akiko Masaki’s parents’ home was well above the river, it still wasn’t spared from the massive flooding that inundated their entire community. Masaki went over to her parents as quickly as she could and has since been taking care of all their needs with help from her family and friends.
“I don’t think they can come here in a few months, maybe before winter, hopefully,” said Masaki. “We bring them, everyday or many friends of them, or friends of mine, come here everyday to bring something to eat, something to drink,” she added.
Usually when a disaster hits Japan, it’s the convenience stores that are the first go-to places of survivors for their necessities, but this time around even the convenience stores in the area were completely destroyed.
Food, water and other necessities have all been in short supply in the aftermath of the flooding. But aid is now slowly making its way out especially to the thousands of evacuees that remain.
“A couple of days ago, they managed to restore the electricity and water supply here. There’s air-conditioning now but before then, they had to endure the heat,” said Yuichi Yamada, the public relations head of the Japanese Red Cross Society.
That’s not to say, however, that evacuees are completely safe from health risks, especially since they may not be able to return home soon.
If there is anything that worries survivors here though, it hasn’t been evident. The overwhelming sentiment expressed by many of them is a desire to restore normalcy in their lives as soon as they can.