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Rain disaster victims remaining at home in evacuated areas to get public support

Relief workers visit a resident remaining at home in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, in this April 1, 2011 file photo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The government is set to ask municipalities affected by the rain disaster that struck western Japan to provide support to victims who remain in their homes after flooding and landslides.

The move comes as many victims of the flooding and landslide disasters opt to stay at their homes rather than at evacuation centers in order to secure privacy and to protect their household items from theft, among other reasons. The government will ask local municipalities to provide necessary support to such residents, matching the help those at evacuation shelters receive.

According to a survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, some 27,000 households in 29 prefectures were hit by flooding due to the rain disaster as of 2:45 p.m. on July 15. However, only about 5,200 people were staying at evacuation centers in those areas. The government intends to have volunteer workers confirm the situations of those remaining at their homes, and provide food and other necessary items as well as vital information and enhanced medical support in areas where water supplies and other infrastructure have been cut off.

Unlike earthquake disasters, in which many houses collapse or suffer damage, victims in rain disasters often continue to live in their homes even after they are flooded, taking shelter on second floors that have escaped inundation. Households in which disabled people live and those with pets also tend to be reluctant to stay at evacuation shelters.

In the wake of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, some residents suffered deep-vein thrombosis, or "economy-class syndrome," after staying in their cars for many days and nights. It is said that those remaining on the second floors of their homes could also develop the condition if they do not move about much.

(Japanese original by Jun Aoki, Political News Department)

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