Evacuees from 2011 disaster number over 73,000

Evacuees from 2011 disaster number over 73,000

Nearly 7 years on from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, tens of thousands of people have yet to return to their homes.

Japan's Reconstruction Agency said there were more than 73,000 evacuees as of February 13th. That's about 50,000 fewer than the year before.

About 53,000 people are living in prefabricated temporary housing, municipality-funded private residences, or welfare facilities. Nearly 20,000 are staying with relatives or friends.

About 50,000 Fukushima residents remained evacuated as of last month, according to the agency and the prefectural government.

Some areas of the prefecture have been off-limits to residents since the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

About half of 35 affected municipalities in the 3 hardest-hit prefectures -- Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima -- have seen their populations drop by more than 10 percent.