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I have two questions concerning the first clause in the following sentence:

NHKが熊本市などにある73の避難所で聞くと、多くの避難所で食べ物が足りないと言っていました。

When the NHK asked at 73 of the shelters in Kumamoto-shi, they (the sheltered people) said that there isn't enough food or water at many shelters.

The first question is regarding で. In this case, で indicates where the action occurred, right? That is, as opposed to "whom/what was asked" or "about what was asked". If so, how could the clause be changed to indicate the NHK specifically asked people in the shelter (避難に perhaps) or about people in the shelter (避難のことを maybe)?

Second, why does 73の避難所 not require a counter?

The full context and link to the article is below.

熊本県では大きな地震が続いていて、18日の午後1時半には約9万4000人が632の避難所(=逃げてきた人が集まる場所)に避難していました。NHKが熊本市などにある73の避難所で聞くと、多くの避難所で食べ物が足りないと言っていました。みんなに食べ物を渡すため、食事を1日に2回だけにしている所もあります。

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10010487241000/k10010487241000.html

  • 1
    When the kind of ひとつ、ふたつ passes 10, it becomes simply the number its own. – user4092 Apr 20 '16 at 8:34
  • I think "の避難所" means a kind of counters. The expression like "10ヶ国の国" is a redundant expression. Because a counter word is a kind of support words for showing a type of things. A polite expression is not needed for a data of large numbers at catastrophe. – nariuji May 22 '16 at 21:41
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  1. You filled in "they" in the latter part of the sentence even there is no such word in the original, right? Then naturally you can add an implicit object in the first part, too.

    When NHK asked them at 73 shelters that are mainly located in Kumamoto, they said...

    Or if you're uncomfortable with the translation, you can reword it as:

    As NHK had interviews at 73 shelters that are mainly located in Kumamoto, we were told at many shelters that they are short of food.

    That's how it goes when the Japanese language omits pronouns.

  2. Good point. We have some situations that don't need counters:

    • buildings, facilities or geographic locations don't need them
    • abstract units don't need them, in many cases they are counters by themselves
      cf.

      30頭の動物 30 (heads of) animals
      30の動物 30 animal species

    • counting numerical items rather than real objects doesn't need them (not applied to animate things)
    • using ratio, percentage etc. rather than numbers never has them

    In this case, you can use a counter as well. 箇所(ヶ所・カ所) would be suitable.

    NHKが熊本市などにある73箇所の避難所で聞くと、…

    PS There's a famous novel titled 『二十四の瞳』, lacking any counter, makes it terse and poetic.

  • We don't have another way to say 二十四の瞳, do we? 二十四個の瞳 would be 24 eyeballs instead of 24 eyes. – user4092 Apr 20 '16 at 8:38
  • @broccoli forest: Thanks for the detailed answer. As a follow up, did you use the word "mainly" in your translation because the article's use of など implies that 熊本市 was not the only location? – G-Cam Apr 20 '16 at 14:19
  • @user4092 Yes, if with counter it just means pupils in eyes, but without counter it suggests something like "24 eyegazes". – broccoli forest Apr 21 '16 at 15:13
  • @G-Cam Yes, that's what I assume. – broccoli forest Apr 21 '16 at 15:14

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