Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rikuzen Takata (1) an area hit badly

Rikuzentakata is located in Japan
Wikipedia's japan
I am back from a week in Iwate prefecture where I spent time helping with the tsunami clean up in Rikuzen Takata local government area. (see the map below- it's three places north of Sendai).   Rikuzen Takata was one of the towns hit worst by the tsunami. The town proper, built behind a tsunami wall that gave a false sense of security, actually no longer exists. The city hall, main hospital, library, shopping area, several schools, railway station, were swept away in the tsunami.  In the town proper, the only remaining buildings are solid concrete structures that are more than 4 stories.  A third of city hall employees were killed.  Almost 3,000 people of a population of  26,000 in the local area are dead or missing.

I went up with a few classmates who are documenting their volunteer experience in the city.

We went up with an NGO on a night bus and stayed at a camping ground in Hanamaki (between Morioka and Kitaami) and "commuted" to volunteering each day by bus.  There were no showers in the campground, but fortunately there was an onsen nearby that  we could go to each evening.  Somedays we were so dirty, I am surprised they let us in!

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