Severe staff shortage hampers reconstruction in disaster-hit region in Japan

Severe staff shortage hampers reconstruction in disaster-hit region in Japan
A survivor prays for the victims on Wednesday morning in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, as Japan marks the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters that hit the northeastern Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.

TOKYO - Disaster-hit municipalities in the northeastern Tohoku region are suffering a severe shortage of staffers as the ongoing reconstruction efforts have significantly increased the workload four years since the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Wednesday marked four years since the earthquake struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.

In early March, municipalities in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures reported a combined shortage of 276 staffers. The number is expected to increase in fiscal 2015 starting in April. This raises concerns about delays in reconstruction projects.

In Miyagi Prefecture, 15 municipalities have managed to add 1,310 new staff members, 218 short of the 1,528 employees needed, as of this month. Iwate Prefecture is suffering a shortage of 40 staffers in its 10 municipalities.

Meanwhile, Fukushima Prefecture is short 18 staffers in its nine municipalities. Some are still unable to start reconstruction due to the lingering impact of the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

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