Temporary Housing and Disaster Victim Assistance: Evidence from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake

Author Name UNAYAMA Takashi  (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. April 2012 12-J-011
Research Project Issues Faced by Japan's Economy and Economic Policy: Demand, productivity, and sustained growth
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This paper investigates the effectiveness and problems of the temporary housing program, which is being applied to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. While prefab homes are usually distributed as temporary housing, rent subsidies have become an additional option. Subsidies would be a better measure to help the victims if enough vacant units are available since the existing units are a more timely option; victims can choose size, location, and structure based on their needs; and there is no need for determining priority among the refugees. Moreover, subsidies would cost less than giving out prefab homes. However, careful plan designing is required to control population mobility, which is desirable for victims but may cause population decline in the stricken areas.