Japan's nuclear evacuees wonder if they'll ever see home again

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Cooler King
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More than 200,000 people have been ordered out of an area within a 12-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where two reactors have gone into partial meltdown.
0313_Peter1_full_380.jpg Volunteer emergency workers help an elderly citizen who was among those evacuated from the 12-mile radius surrounding the Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Iwaki, Japan
The first Yoshiko Watanabe heard there might be a problem at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant where she works as a cleaner was early on Saturday morning. The community radio that the municipal authorities had installed a month earlier in her home came on unexpectedly at around 8 a.m. local time.
“It said we had to go to the town hall to evacuate because there was trouble at reactor No. 1,” she recalls. “I left with just my purse and the clothes I was wearing.”
Now, Mrs. Watanabe and 1,250 others from her home town of Narahama are sleeping on the floor of classrooms in a junior school here, 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) away, unsure if they will ever live in their homes again.
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“Sometimes I wonder, but I try not to think like that,” she says, her eyes moist, standing in the school entry hall amid piles of cartons of food, clothes, blankets, and water.
More than 200,000 evacuated

The Narahama evacuees huddled in blankets on the floor, including a score of patients from an old peoples’ home, are among the more than 200,000 residents ordered out of an area within a 20 kilometer (12.5 mile) radius of the Daiichi facility, where two reactors have gone into partial meltdown, according to the government, in the wake of Friday’s massive offshore earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Their mood is one of shock and resignation.
A third of Narahama families have someone employed at the nuclear power plant says Makoto Mizenoya, whose mother works in the canteen there. “We never ever expected anything to go wrong,” she says.
Japan's nuclear evacuees wonder if they'll ever see home again - CSMonitor.com
 


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