Japan marks three years since quake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown

March 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM
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SENDAI, Japan, March 11 (UPI) -- Prayers and ceremonies across northeast Japan marked the third anniversary of the 2011 tsunami, earthquake and Fukushima nuclear facility accident Tuesday.

Memorial services were held for the approximately 18,000 people dead or missing in the 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the crisis at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Flowers were laid at a monument to the victims in Sendai, the Japanese news agency Kyodo News said.

More than 28,000 people still reside in cramped temporary housing near the nuclear plant, some of whom suffer from sudden deterioration of the health which doctors suspect is caused by stress from the prolonged living in uncomfortable conditions, the Japanese news agency Jiji Press said Tuesday.

Poor living conditions in the three Japanese prefectures most impacted by the combined disasters are cited as related to 2,900 more deaths.

An evacuation facility in the city of Soma served as an emergency shelter for more than three months, serving 1,100 people.

"About 35 people lived in my room," said Asako Kanno, 72, now suffering from stress-related nausea and headaches. "I had only the space of a long cushion."

She was eventually relocated to temporary housing, where she stayed in bed all day with a photo of her eldest son, who died in the tsunami at 44.

"I didn't walk around, and had few chances to talk with anyone except police officers making their rounds. I didn't want to do anything."

Kanno was moved to government housing in May, Jiji Press said.

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