July 5, 2011
They scoop up soil from their gardens and dump it in holes dug out in parks and nearby forests, scrub their roofs with soap and refuse to let their children play outside.
More than three months after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown at a nearby power plant, Fukushima residents are scrambling to cope with contamination on their own in the absence of a long-term plan from the government.
“Everything and everyone here is paralysed and we feel left on our own, unsure whether it’s actually safe for us to stay in the city,” said Akiko Itoh, 42, with her four-year old son in her lap.
Even though this city of 300,000 lies outside of the 30-km evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, a recent survey showed radiation levels in several spots exceed 13 millisieverts per year, more than six times natural levels.
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