FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Only 13 percent of the evacuees from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in five municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have returned home after evacuation orders were lifted, local authorities said Saturday.
Some residents who used to live in the cities of Tamura and Minamisoma, villages of Kawauchi and Katsurao, and the town of Naraha may be reluctant to return to their homes due to fear of exposing children to radiation, the authorities said.
The evacuation orders to residents in those municipalities were lifted partly or entirely from April 2014 through July 2016. As of January, about 2,500 people out of a combined population of around 19,460 registered as residents of those areas were living there.
Evacuation orders for four more towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture are scheduled to be lifted this spring, but it is uncertain how many residents will return to those areas as well.
In the prefecture, eight municipalities are still subject to evacuation orders around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant due to high radiation levels. Three nuclear reactors at the plant melted down and the structures housing them were severely damaged by hydrogen gas explosions days after a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011 knocked out electric power needed to run critical reactor cooling equipment.