Thursday, June 7, 2018

Voice of affected persons

I, Momoko Fukuoka, continue listening to and conveying to the outside world the voices of the affected people in Fukushima via Twitter. I would like to share some of my tweets about their experiences. My account name is: “the life experiences of a former Sister.” Some of my supporters have uploaded one of my video clips on YouTube with English subtitles for people overseas. Please watch this:

May 30, 2018 (a woman who lives alone in Namie-cho)
“Once the evacuation order had been lifted, I came back home for the first time in 7 years. The situation was way beyond what I had anticipated.There are no stores for shopping. On top of that, we have no hospitals at all. When I was walking my dog the other day, I fell flat on my face and broke my glasses, resulting in major injuries to my face, which look horrible.
Although I called around to hospitals, none of them would accept me without an appointment. So, I gave up on professional medical treatments and had to deal with it by myself.

“The only way to get treatment is to call an ambulance?” I kept asking myself . When I think of the future, I am not sure if it was the right decision to have come back….

A new public apartment has been built in my neighborhood. However, I know none of the new residents. The atmosphere has changed from that of old times here in Namie. Prior to the disaster, I used to know many friendly people. We used to know, help, and support each other. Where have they all gone? I feel so lonely, what shall I do? For my loneliness my grandchild who lives far away gave me a puppy that cries so much that I cannot rest well.”  

May 31, 2018 (a 72-year-old man who lives alone in Urajiri, Minamisoma City)
When the entire Urajiri flat land was swallowed by the tsunami, he lost his wife and home. Currently he lives alone at a temporary housing unit. As the leader of this small group of residents (78 people in 34 households), he has devoted himself to supporting them. That being said, this past January there were only 3 remaining households (a mother with children, a man of the same age, and himself). By June, it will just be him. 

"Since I can keep this temporary housing unit until the end of March 2019, I decided to stay here until then. There are a lot of earthquakes these days. Unlike before, I hear a rumbling noise prior to the earthquakes. If it ever hits seismic intensity 5, I will evacuate. I can drive my car to a supermarket. I am OK living alone. I am so healthy that I have never been to a hospital."
 Although his voice sounded cheerful, I worry about  his lonely life. The tsunami took away his wife and home. His family members live far away.. Just too many sad things to list. So, I am sending him a care package with some food. I also called up a friend in Kodaka ward and asked him to keep an eye on this lonely man since he needs someone to lean on.


Translated by: Rachel Clark

Edited by: Karen Rogers

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