Survey: 2011 disaster still impacting community ties and livelihoods

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An NHK opinion poll reveals that a majority of survivors of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters do not feel their lives have been comfortably restored. Only about 20% of respondents say their community ties and standard of living have returned to pre-disaster levels.

The online survey was conducted from February 1 to 3. The 11th anniversary of the disaster is Friday.

NHK interviewed 1,000 residents living in coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, and areas that had been evacuated after the nuclear accident. Of the respondents, 580 were men, 420 were women, and their average age was 51.

When asked how much they thought their areas had been restored, 14% of respondents answered completely. Twenty-nine percent said the restore was underway and 29% said it was taking longer than expected. Six percent said the restoration had not progressed at all and 21% said they didn’t know.

When asked what they thought had been restored, 69% cited roads, railways and other transport services. Fifty-three percent cited government offices, hospitals and schools. More than 50% of respondents say that basic infrastructure has been restored.

Only 29% of respondents said their local economies have recovered, while 26% said their communities are thriving again. Twenty percent said their ties to the community had been restored and 19% said they now had the same standard of living as before.

Experts say survivors still face long-term challenges and note that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the situation.

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