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March 9, 2012

Japan's nuclear evacuees

Photographer Phyllis B. Dooney is documenting the plight of Japan's evacuees who fled the nuclear disaster in Fukushima prefecture after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. She writes,"In Fukushima Prefecture, the third and most permanent disaster in the series followed; a nuclear meltdown occurred at Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Radiation poured into the atmosphere and environment. First it was a suggestion, but by mid-April the government was enforcing the mandate that the residents of Tomioka and Kawauchi, who hadn’t already left because of the earthquake and/or tsunami damage, leave indefinitely.  Nearly one year later an estimated 80,000 nuclear refugees are living in government-issued temporary housing or elsewhere. In the temporary housing, often just outside the evacuation zone, it is the elderly and mentally or physically disabled who comprise a large percentage of the residents." Collected here are images of those evacuees made by Dooney in August of last year and in the last few days. -- Lane Turner (25 photos total)

Masayoshi Katakura stands on the steps of his temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 16, 2011. Masayoshi, like many others, is frightened and displaced by the earthquake and tsunami but his destitution and hopelessness are a result of the nuclear disaster. (© Phyllis B. Dooney)

Masayoshi Katakura sits idly while his wife, Akiko, lies in her bed watching baseball in their temporary housing, Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 17, 2011. Katakura, 85 years old, is a Tenrikyo minister. In Tomioka he had a parish and a church where he lived and served the community.  Now he lives with his infirm wife, Akiko, in the temporary housing for a contracted period of two years, after which the government and Tokyo Electric will announce subsequent support, if any. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Masayoshi Katakura hangs his laundry outside of his temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 16, 2011. His belongings that he managed to save– a radio, glasses, his hanko ID stamp, and some medical records – fit into a case that is roughly the size of your average shaving kit. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Akiko Katakura lies in her medical bed in the temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 16, 2011. The residents in Koriyama’s temporary housing pass the time waiting to be reunited with their animals, knitting and watching baseball. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Endo Chiyoko receives her daily rations in Big Palette, Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 19, 2011. Big Palette is a stadium and was the original evacuee center for those from Kawauchi and Tomioka, areas now put under government control due to extreme radiation levels. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Shigeko Hashimoto sits in her temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 18, 2011. Shigeko and her husband have been waiting for 5 months to hear news of their cat and dog who are mysteriously being held in a rescue center and they wonder if, due to radiation levels, the animals will not be returned to them. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Donated housewares arrive in a truck and the temporary housing residents gather to collect things like plates and mugs in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 19, 2011. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

The temporary housing complex in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 20, 2011. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

The Sakuma family has dinner and sake in their temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 17, 2011. Fumio Sakuma worked at the Nuclear Plant when the meltdown occurred and has a conservative 7 month compensation before he no longer has an income or job. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Shigeko Hashimoto knits to pass the time in her temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 18, 2011. The stress of life since '311' has caused her to lose 10 kilos off her already small frame. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Atsushi Shida and wife, Kimiko, have breakfast in the temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefeccture, August 20, 2011. In order to rescue their cat and dog after their home was placed under government control they covered themselves in aluminum foil and snuck in under the cover of night. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Endo Chiyoko is still living in Big Palette in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 16, 2011. Most evacuees have been relocated to temporary housing from Big Palette, which is the original evacuee center for those from Kawauchi and Tomioka. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

A mother and daughter are two of the last evacuees still living in Big Palette in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 16, 2011. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Shigeko Hashimoto's shrine sits atop cardboard boxes in her temporary housing in Koriyama, Miyagi Prefecture, August 18, 2011. These are the only items she took with her, believing she would return soon to her house when she evacuated. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Toshisuke Hashimoto takes a break from crowd that is receiving handouts from the community in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 19, 2011. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Ayaka Ando plays with her favorite dog in the temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, August 19, 2011. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

An evacuee peers out of the sliding door of his temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukishima Prefecture, August 17, 2011. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Masayoshi Katakura in the temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, March 4, 2012. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Masayoshi Katakura visits his wife, Akiko, in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, March 6, 2012. Masayoshi was forced to put his wife in an assisted living home rather than the temporary housing. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Ikuko Sakuma in the temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, March 5, 2012. Ikuko's husband, Fumio Sakuma, worked at the Nuclear Plant when the meltdown occurred and he fled. His mother was killed in their house during the Earthquake and they believe her spirit is protecting their house while they stay in the temporary housing, hoping to return home. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Kimiko and husband, Atsushi, in the temporary housing Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, March 5, 2012. They used to live in a large house in the mountains where they grew their own vegetables and cooked a lot. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Atsushi Shida in the Pachinko game parlor in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, March 6, 2012. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Kasetsu Jutaku, or "temporay housing," for the nuclear evacuees of Tomioka and Kawauchi in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan on March 7, 2012. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Shigeko and husband, Toshitsuke, in the temporary housing in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, March 7, 2012. Although their home did endure some earthquake damage, with a little work it is habitable except for the radiation levels in the area which keep them from returning home. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #

Ladies gather to get some fresh air and chat outside of the Kasetsu Jutaku, or "temporary housing," for the nuclear evacuees of Tomioka and Kawauchi in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan on March 6, 2012. (© Phyllis B. Dooney) #


 
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