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Nearly 230,000 Japanese Live in Temporary Housing Years After Fukushima

© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankAlmost 230,000 people continue living in temporary housing four years after a deadly earthquake struck northeast Japan, causing the worst nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl
Almost 230,000 people continue living in temporary housing four years after a deadly earthquake struck northeast Japan, causing the worst nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl - Sputnik International
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Almost 230,000 people continue living in temporary housing four years after a deadly earthquake struck northeast Japan, causing the worst nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl, according to Japan's Reconstruction Agency.

Fire fighters search for survivors following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, northeastern Japan, Friday, March 18, 2011. (File) - Sputnik International
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TOKYO (Sputnik) — The March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake caused 229,000 people to relocate either permanently or temporarily, lodging with relatives or friends and unable to return to their homes.

Nearly half were residents of Fukushima prefecture, where waves up to 15 meters tall (42 feet) from a magnitude 9.0 earthquake-triggered tsunami caused a meltdown of its nuclear power plant's reactors. In other prefectures, waves reached as high as 40.5 meters (132.8 feet)

At present, 83,000 survivors live in extremely harsh conditions in makeshift housing built immediately after the disaster and designed to last no more than two years. However, compared to last year's 267,000 displaced residents, surviving victims of the Tohoku earthquake are gradually acquiring own housing.

6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Jolts Northeast Japan

As part of the agency's recovery plan, 29,000 municipal houses are expected to be constructed in the affected areas, with one-fifth of the residences complete.

Japan is located in a seismically active zone, with earthquakes of magnitude 6 and higher commonplace in the island nation. Last month, two quakes hit the northern tip of Japan, sparing the island of casualties or often routine tsunamis.

Seismologists estimate, however, that tremors nearing magnitude 9 in the Japanese archipelago take place no more than once every six centuries.

Wednesday marks the fourth anniversary of the devastating catastrophe that left almost 16,000 people dead, 2,500 still missing and 400,000 homes destroyed across an area covering 561 square kilometers (216.6 square miles).

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