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“Coats, Hats, and Cold Social Distancing: Japanese Earthquake Survivors Brave the Elements in Shelters without Heat or Water

The aftermath of a powerful earthquake in Japan has left survivors seeking refuge in shelters with no heat or running water. They are forced to sleep with coats and hats on indoors in order to maintain their own body temperature. This all began when a 7.3 magnitude earthquake tore through the Tohoku region of northern Japan at 02:08 on Saturday May 30th. The quake triggered a tsunami wave which swept away buildings and ships. The local government estimates that around 56 people have died, causing an additional 1,000 injuries. The 2.2 million people in the affected area had no notice to evacuate and few choices but to take shelter in the houses of their neighbors or in an emergency shelter. Despite their need for safe haven, some shelter areas are not lucky enough to have heat or running water. To make matters worse, the sleeping bags and blankets provided are not enough to keep the people warm during the cold Japanese nights. Under these dire conditions, survivors have been finding ways to stay warm. People still in their own homes are wrapping up with thick winter jackets and hats to sleep in. The survivors in the shelter have been using anything they can find to make their own blankets. They are stuffing their pockets full of newspaper, wrapping themselves in coats and scarfs trying their best to keep warm. This difficult time does not only apply to the survivors of the earthquake however, many charities and volunteers have stepped up to try to help alleviate the stress of the survivors. They are providing hot meals, warm bedding and even access to mobile phones and wifi in some of the shelters. Despite their brave efforts, the earthquake has left many people in concerned states, unsure of when they will be able to return to their homes. This tragedy in Japan marks another devastating natural disaster. It is too soon to know how many people this earthquake has impacted, however the people affected will need all the help they can get to restore some of the lost warmth in their lives.