Great East Japan Earthquake: growing numbers of the refugees to Okinawa
March 18, 2011, Ryukyu Shimpo
Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, growing numbers of people from the Tohoku and Kanto areas have been taking refuge in Okinawa in order to escape from a spate of aftershocks and the ongoing threat of a nuclear accident.
Staff at the Okinawa Tourist Information Center state that they have received numerous inquiries about long-stay accommodation facilities and flights since March 11, when the earthquake occurred.
The Center received about 200 inquiries on March 16, and about 100 on March 17. Most of the people contacting the Center normally reside in areas affected by the earthquake.
A car rental information office in Naha Airport reported that although many people had cancelled reservations for rental cars directly after the earthquake, increasing numbers of people were using rental cars since March 16.
A female worker said that the number of customers had increased about five-fold in comparison with normal circumstances.
Currently, such cities as Naha, located close to the airport, have been receiving an avalanche of inquiries about occupancy of short-term lease condominium accommodation within Okinawa. These people tend to be family members of people who live in the area around Tokyo, and are seeking temporary refuge.
A man who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture with his wife and children said, “There are no food supplies or gasoline and the nuclear power plant is still in a dangerous situation. We moved to Okinawa to be safe. We don’t know how long we are going to stay.”
(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey）
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