Movers turn away evacuees / People told to relocate get cold shoulder from moving firms


Cooler King
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FUKUSHIMA--Many residents in Fukushima Prefecture who have been told to prepare for evacuation have been refused service by moving companies, it has been learned.
People living in designated areas have been told to evacuate within one month because of radiation leaks from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the prefecture.
"Out of consideration for our employees' safety, we can't let them take on those jobs," an official of one moving firm said.
Moving firms' reluctance to work in the area will likely hinder the relocation efforts of the more than 6,000 residents in the five cities, towns and villages inside the zone that was on Friday designated for evacuation.
"We were told to evacuate, but we can't. Are [the moving companies] just going to abandon us without offering help?" said a 50-year-old woman of Iitatemura, which is within the designated zone.
The woman called a major moving firm on Saturday, and informed a staff member of her address. The employee told her, "Currently, we classify [Iitatemura] as a no-service area."
The woman persisted in her request for service, but the employee said: "We think there'll be consequences from the accident at the nuclear power plant... Our company has already decided its position on the matter."
Another major moving company also refused to serve the woman, she said.
Her family of four stayed briefly at a relative's house after the first accident at the nuclear power plant, but returned home after one week, she said.
After hearing on April 11 that a new evacuation zone would be set, she decided to move as soon as possible. She found a house in Sendai and made plans for the family to move there on May 4, only to be rebuffed by the moving companies.
Iitatemura's village administration office has received inquiries from other residents seeking advice after being turned away by moving companies.
"This isn't a problem the village office can deal with. It's the policy of these companies. We want the central government to do something," a village official said.
"I want the central government or someone to give us proper support so we can move. If the situation is left as it is, people will be left behind in the evacuation zone," the woman said.
Moving firms cited employee safety as the reason for the policy.
Movers turn away evacuees / People told to relocate get cold shoulder from moving firms : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

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