Photo/IllutrationA man touches the name of his grandchild etched in a monument to victims of the 2011 tsunami in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 11. He lost three grandchildren, including one who attended Okawa Elementary School in the city. Eighty-four pupils, teachers and school staff perished in the tsunami while fleeing from the school. (Tetsuro Takehana)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Tens of thousands of people in the Tohoku region are still living in makeshift prefabricated housing units on the sixth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that triggered the nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture.

As March 11 dawned, some 34,000 residents fell into this category, and many have no hope of returning to their former homes as the tsunami spawned by the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated vast coastal areas of northeastern Japan.

Efforts, meantime, are continuing to develop residential land and provide public housing for the victims.

By the end of this month, 69 percent of the development of residential land on elevated ground as well as inland is expected to be completed in the three hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. With regard to public housing, 83 percent of the units will be finished.

The death toll from the 2011 disaster now officially stands at 15,893 with 2,553 people unaccounted for. Deaths attributed indirectly to the disaster come to 3,523.

The triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, triggered by the magnitude-9.0 quake and towering tsunami, forced about 56,000 people in communities around the plant to flee under directions from the government.

* * *

Read other recent stories about the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami as well as the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Communities leveled in 2011 tsunami slowly making progress

Amid mess at Fukushima plant, one store provides relief

Iwate's lonely 'miracle pine tree' to get some new neighbors

Aftershocks at more than twice usual quake rate since 2011 event

Miyagi coast, sea searched for 2,550 missing tsunami victims

Ghostly voice leads wife to handle grief by writing letters

Asahi survey: Disaster victims pessimistic over Olympics effect

3/11 tsunami banner evokes the unimaginable in Tokyo’s Ginza

Keeping foreign visitors safe the focus of Tokyo earthquake drill

Father, daughter grow closer through 100-km drives to school

Father lights up abandoned land in Fukushima for missing son

2 suns appear to be rising over a bay in Miyagi Prefecture

Poll: At least 20 years to regain lifestyle, half of Fukushima says

Abandoned satchels can’t be recovered due to nuclear disaster

4 more districts in Fukushima set to be declared safe to return to

Fukushima port welcomes fishing boats back for 1st time since 2011

60 percent say Fukushima evacuees bullied

Ugly river safety embankment draws ire of locals

70 unidentified tsunami victims reach official resting place

Haunting Miyagi symbol of 2011 tsunami gets a fresh paint job

Tsunami-hit hotel in Iwate continues to draw visitors