KORIYAMA, Japan - Life in evacuation shelters is taking a severe psychological toll on those left homeless by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, a situation likely to worsen as tens of thousands face the prospect of staying at least the rest of the year in temporary housing.
Though the suffering is spread out along Japan's ravaged northeast coast, the problem is particularly severe for Japan's "nuclear refugees," who were forced to flee from homes near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and have been told to expect to remain in limbo for the next nine months, at least.
"I have pretty much given up," said 63-year-old Eiichi Kogusuri, who lives in one of the country's biggest shelters, a sports arena housing nearly 1,000 refugees in the city of Koriyama, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) away from the nuclear plant.
"All I do every day is eat, sleep and watch TV," he said. "Every day seems so long. I'm in my 60s, I have no work. I have nothing to hold on to and I'm too old to start over."
Hiromichi Watanabe, a health official for Tomioka, a town of about 16,000 near the nuclear plant, said the condition of the evacuees from his town is deteriorating.
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