Sendai’s homeless fear new quake

After a sleepless night on cardboard boxes in ravaged Sendai’s drafty night shelters, thousands of the newly homeless woke Monday morning to the threat of another major earthquake in the region.

Sections of key highways to the Japanese sea port decimated by a series of powerful tsunamis on Friday have been sealed off to civilians as aid pours into the Miyagi Prefecture from the South to support the rescue mission.

Local media has reported there is 70 percent possibility of an earthquake of magnitude 7 in the next three days, possibly today.

For those at Kencho Prefecture Office, one of many municipal buildings now doubling as a night shelter, the chance of another powerful tremor, potentially triggering further tsunamis, only reinforces their fears of returning home.

“I’m not going home. It’s an old building and I definitely don’t want to be there if there’s another big earthquake,” said Adrien Prierard, a 27-year-old French postgraduate student who has been living in Sendai for two years but who has been at the shelter since Saturday.

“I can’t even flee. I could queue for hours and try to get a bus on to Yamagata (region to the West), but even if I managed that I don’t know if I could get a plane on from there.”

“We’re refugees. We have electricity but we have nothing to do.”

There is no food and water available near the Kencho shelter, although between two and three times a day loaves of bread and cucumbers are given out for free by local aid workers.

Saito, a 60-year-old taxi driver said that there is no food or water available in the whole of Sendai.

SENDAI, March 14 (RIA Novosti, Tom Balmforth)

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