IBARAKI (TR) – Citizens of Joso City are facing difficulties beyond the severe flooding that struck Ibaraki Prefecture last week.
As of September 13, dozens of incidents of theft had been reported to police, according to the Sankei Shimbun (Sep. 13). In response, police have increased patrols of areas from which Joso residents have evacuated.
“I’m glad I brought my valuables with me when I left,” one man told the newspaper. “There are thieves about now. What cowards.”
Typhoon Etau’s rains pummeled Japan last week, with Joso being hit especially hard. News footage showed homes being washed away as the Kinugawa River topped its banks.
A woman who evacuated with her 90-year-old aunt had her house broken into. “I rushed out with my aunt and forgot to lock the door,” she said. “Now I cannot start getting things back in order until police have finished investigating the break-in.”
One man in town to help sort out his family home, a teacher from nearby Tsukuba, said that rumors are abounding about people dressed in Japan Self-Defense Forces uniforms breaking into homes and stealing valuables. “Everybody is shaken,” he said.
The large number of elderly in the area has further added to the problem, one man added. “Fears of thieves mean they aren’t opening their doors at night,” he said. “And they are having to go back and forth to the houses of friends that avoided damage. Everyone is tired.”