Friday, March 25, 2011

Before restoring the town, please find those missing first

(By Mr. Jinei Abe and Ms. Satomi Abe, evacuees at the Matsuhama Elemantary School in Shichigahama, Miyagi)
Right after the earthquake, I got on my fishing boat offshore and I was thinking that if the boat was damaged, I would be out of business.  Then a tremendous wave as high as 10 meters came one after another, six or seven in total.  I spent two nights offshore.  My wife and my mother run to an evacuation center located on a hill but a wave came and my wife tried hard to hold on to my mom which left her with broken bones.  The wave separated them and swept my mother away. She was found dead in an hour.  It’s important to make efforts to restore the town but I wish that they strive to find all missing persons first.  Restoration work can be done after that.    
(summary of interview by NHK, March 22, 2011, "What Evacuees Want to Tell You Now"

CEO of softbank: Lending mobile phones free of charge to kids who lost their parents in the disaster

The chairman and CEO of Softbank, one of the biggest mobile phone companies in Japan, Masayoshi Son unveiled his plan to lend children who lost their parents due to the earthquake and tsunami mobile phones free of charge and not to charge for telecommunications fee until they turn 18 years old.  He also told reporters that the company has lent volunteers who have rushed to the disaster-stricken area more than 20,000 mobile phones so far at no charge as well.  (summary of the article by Mainichi Shimbun, March 22, 2011)

Disaster victims need to be 'matched' with 2nd hometown (Article from Mainichi Shimbun)

More resources for those affected by the Japan earthquake and tsunami

Helpful links gathered on blog.

Tsunami survivors face monstrous cleanup task (Article from Japan Times)

Photos by Bostonglobe on March 12: Japan: Eathquake Aftermath

Photos by Boston Globe on March. 11: Massive Earthquake Hits Japan

Right after the earthquake and tsunami.....

Family members reunited after 4 days struggling to survive (Article from Asahi Shimbun)

Photo albums once scattered by tsunami came back to the owner (from Mar. 22, 09:47
Our memories are back!!! Photo albums once swept and scattered by tsunami came back to the owner.
About 200 hundred photo albums with pictures of smiling kids, of weddings and trips to hot spa are now displayed in the town hall of Yamada, Iwate. These albums which were scattered on the streets, all over the town, were picked up and brought to the town hall by residents themselves, saying ‘Please give them back to whom they belong to.’ Sometimes the owners of the albums find their own in the display. Little by little, memories go back to those afflicted who have lost their homes.

Photo albums covered with mud are displayed either on the tables or in cardboard boxes in the lobby on the 1st Fl. of the town hall, Some of them have some pages opened to make it easy for the people who might be the owners to see if they are theirs. There is always a bunch of people who turn pages of the albums, hoping to find pictures of their beloved ones.

Ms. Tamiko Seki is one of the people who got their album back. It was a small one with 20 some pictures. It was found near the place her house used to be at and picked up by a neighbor. The pictures there were those taken near 30 years ago when her family visited Ueno Zoo in Tokyo with
her relatives.

“My son was so excited to go out of the countryside and visit a city. He can’t look happier there as a 3-year-old boy with pandas and giraffes….”

Her family was left unharmed, but her house was swept away by tsunami.

"I am so happy to know at least I have something I can keep beside me," says Seki.
Yuichi Inoue (quoted)