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Japan, Project Tohoku, stories

Stories Are Hard to Hear

It is rare for a disaster chaser to be caught up in a disaster. While its true that we head for areas devastated by nature we are drawn there in the aftermath, witnessing the effects but not the fury. Even living and working amongst the debris it is impossible to imagine actually living through the terror of an event like the March earthquake and the tsunami it caused.

I’ve been here for a month today and yet tears came to my eyes as I read some of the stories of survivors from Kamaishi, a town just up the coast from Ofunato. I realised I had no idea of what those horrifying minutes meant to the people who had lived them. I have seen the destruction but it is so hard for your mind to put people into the picture you form of an impersonal wave crushing buildings and sweeping away possessions.

The man said something to his wife. In the instant the wife hesitated, brown waves swept over the tracks and the two disappeared into the water.                             from asahi.com

Our work focuses on what is left behind of Ofunato and its buildings but we mustn’t forget that more was lost than houses.


About Jess UK

Fell in love with the crazy, inspiring, all-or-nothing world of disaster response and the wonderfully ridiculous, hard-working people who are drawn to it. Currently working in the Philippines as part of the recovery efforts after Typhoon Washi/Sendong! Want to know more? Check out disasterchasers.wordpress.com.


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