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Message from Kids in Kumamoto to Nobiru Elm. School

2012/01/25 20:26 に 日下部拓 が投稿   [ 2012/01/25 20:30 に更新しました ]

Mr. Yoshio Teraoka, Associate General Secretary of Kumamoto YMCA who has been serving at Sendai YMCA Volunteer Support Center as the first support staff arranged by the National Council of YMCAs of Japan from June through August, came to deliver messages from the students of Isshin Elementary School in Kumamoto to the children of Nobiru Elementary School in Higashimatsushima. He also brought a young staff member, Mr. Taishi Inomata to see the current situation of the Tsunami-affected areas by his own eyes to help boost the support effort at Kumamoto YMCA. 

On Tuesday 1/24, Mr. Ohmura and myself from the Volunteer Support Center took them to the Older People’s Facilities by the coast in Yamamoto-cho where over 80 people had lost lives in Tsunami, Yuriage District in Natori City, then to Arahama District in Sendai. The coastal areas are still far from recovery: removal of debris and demolishing destroyed structures are mostly completed, yet nothing has been built and there is no sign of human activity ten months after the disaster, indicates the magnitude of the destruction. 

On Wednesday 1/25, I took them to Nobiru Elementary School at their newly built temporary school building in Higashi-matsushima. Principle Ms. Kijima shared with us the current conditions and challenges of the school, students, and their community, then took us to 2nd grader’s classroom. When Mr. Teraoka handed the messages and drawings from the 2nd graders of Isshin Elementary School to the class leaders, students came up with a lot of interesting questions about Kumamoto. They loved the messages. 

After our visit, we went to the destroyed school building of Nobiru Elementary School near coast, where the gym was the designated evacuation center by city and over 100 people, students and the residents in the community, lost their lives by tsunami gushed into the gym on 3/11.
The 8 feet high water mark on the wall was still visible inside the gym. We also went to see the coastal areas of Minami Sanriku-cho. Most of the debris removed and buildings demolished, covered by fresh snow, the coastal towns and villages seemed very clean. But, there is almost no sign of human activity except for many construction equipments and dump trucks moving around, reminds us the seriousness of the damage these communities had taken, and the long way ahead for recovery. Yet, witnessing slowly growing lines of buoys for farming Wakames, oysters, scallops, and silver salmon off shore in the bay, they are telling us the town people’s strong will and sure steps for recovery.