1 in 4 kids need help after the 2011 Japan tsunami


Aftermath: Miyako, in Iwate prefecture after the tsunami in March 2011. Photo: Reuters

Aftermath: Miyako, in Iwate prefecture after the tsunami in March 2011. Photo: Reuters

 

This article caught my eye today. In a disaster of such a scale, I wonder how many people fell through the cracks.

Researchers in a report released Monday said 1 in 4 nursery school children who survived the 2011 quake and tsunami has psychiatric problems and warned the effects could last a lifetime if left untreated.

Paying respect at Fukushima, one year on: More than 18,000 people died when the tsunami hit. Photo: Reuters

Paying respect at Fukushima, one year on: More than 18,000 people died when the tsunami hit. Photo: Reuters

The researchers found 25.9 percent of children aged between 3 and 5 suffer symptoms including vertigo, nausea and headaches, with some exhibiting worrying behaviour such as violence or withdrawal.

The health ministry study said kids were scarred by losing friends, seeing their homes collapse, being separated from parents or by the sight of the huge walls of water that crashed ashore.

The team, led by professor Shigeo Kure of Tohoku University School of Medicine, said young children who do not receive care could develop more serious problems later in life.

These could include developmental disorders and learning disabilities, which would have a knock-on effect on academic achievement and employment prospects, it said.

More than 18,000 people died when the 9.0-magnitude Great East Japan Earthquake sent towering tsunami across the Japan’s northeast coast in March 2011. The nation’s worst postwar disaster was compounded by the three reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant that forced tens of thousands of people to flee from radiation.

Researchers looked at 178 children whose parents or guardians agreed to cooperate in the three prefectures hit worst by the catastrophe — Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. They used an internationally recognized child behavior checklist and met with the children between September 2012 and last June.

The level of children who need psychiatric care is more than three times that seen in other parts of Japan unaffected by the disasters.

Officials at the health ministry and medical organizations involved in the study could not immediately be reached for comment on the report.

“It is known that children need (psychiatric) care right after an earthquake disaster, but this study was done more than a year and half after the fact, so that concerns me,” said Makiko Okuyama of the National Center for Child Health and Development, who participated in the study.

Tomioka: Eerie images show what is left of Japanese city abandoned after tsunami and Fukushima nuclear meltdown


 

Road to nowhere: The way into Tomioka, Fukushima, has been blocked off, preventing residents from going back because of dangerous radiation levels

Road to nowhere: The way into Tomioka, Fukushima, has been blocked off, preventing residents from going back because of dangerous radiation levels

Devastated: The coastal area was virtually wiped out by the 2011 tsunami. The beach used to be popular with tourists in the summer

Devastated: The coastal area was virtually wiped out by the 2011 tsunami. The beach used to be popular with tourists in the summer

Stuck: A fishing vessel that was washed ashore during the devastating tsunami still lies on the side of the road

Stuck: A fishing vessel that was washed ashore during the devastating tsunami still lies on the side of the road

Isolated: The boat has been left there for three years on the outskirts of the deserted city, which was evacuated because of radiation fears following the nuclear disaster

Isolated: The boat has been left there for three years on the outskirts of the deserted city, which was evacuated because of radiation fears following the nuclear disaster

Playground: A children's swing set that has not been used since the city was abandoned lies in the middle of overgrown grass and below a cherry blossom tree

Playground: A children’s swing set that has not been used since the city was abandoned lies in the middle of overgrown grass and below a cherry blossom tree

Worship: A group of statues line up along a footpath leading towards a shrine. It is surrounded by chains to prevent intruders from going inside

Worship: A group of statues line up along a footpath leading towards a shrine. It is surrounded by chains to prevent intruders from going inside

Last stop: The train station has become overgrown in the years after the town was evacuated. Residents were asked to leave in 2011 for fears of their safety following the nuclear disaster

Last stop: The train station has become overgrown in the years after the town was evacuated. Residents were asked to leave in 2011 for fears of their safety following the nuclear disaster

Empty platforms: The images, including those of the empty station,  were caught on a drone which hovered over the abandoned community

Empty platforms: The images, including those of the empty station, were caught on a drone which hovered over the abandoned community

Ruined: Signs that would welcome people into the station are left hanging from the derelict platform. The overheard lines used to power the trains have also collapsed

uined: Signs that would welcome people into the station are left hanging from the derelict platform. The overheard lines used to power the trains have also collapsed

Eerie: A home destroyed by the tsunami, which was triggered by an earthquake, is left surrounded by debris

Eerie: A home destroyed by the tsunami, which was triggered by an earthquake, is left surrounded by debris

Nature: The desolate buildings surround the city's beautiful cherry blossom tunnel, one of the biggest in Japan

+20 Nature: The desolate buildings surround the city’s beautiful cherry blossom tunnel, one of the biggest in Japan

Broken: Windows have been shattered in houses around the city and floors have been cleared away

Broken: Windows have been shattered in houses around the city and floors have been cleared away

Aerial view: The drone captures how the edge of the city, the train station and the coastline have been devastated by the natural disasters

+20 Aerial view: The drone captures how the edge of the city, the train station and the coastline have been devastated by the natural disasters

Stripped away: Storeys in homes are barely standing. Many of the grass areas and gardens in the city have been left to overgrow

+20 Stripped away: Storeys in homes are barely standing. Many of the grass areas and gardens in the city have been left to overgrow

Cleared out: Pieces of furniture and old toys are scattered over the floor in front of an abandoned building

+20 Cleared out: Pieces of furniture and old toys are scattered over the floor in front of an abandoned building

Crumbled: A large hole in the side of a house created by the tsunami which struck in 2011. The city did have 15,000 residents living in 6,000 properties

+20 Crumbled: A large hole in the side of a house created by the tsunami which struck in 2011. The city did have 15,000 residents living in 6,000 properties

Rusting: A set of monkey bars sits in a park next to a house. Almost 300,000 people have been evacuated across the Fukushima coastal region

Rusting: A set of monkey bars sits in a park next to a house. Almost 300,000 people have been evacuated across the Fukushima coastal region

Empty: An abandoned car lies in the middle of a field in Tomioka. An earthquake off the east coast caused the nuclear meltdown

Empty: An abandoned car lies in the middle of a field in Tomioka. An earthquake off the east coast caused the nuclear meltdown

Remains: Clothes still hang from a line outside an empty apartment. It shows how quicky the residents were forced to leave

Remains: Clothes still hang from a line outside an empty apartment. It shows how quicky the residents were forced to leave

Power: A solar panel is still harnessing sunlight and generating electricity, despite there being no residents to use the resources

Power: A solar panel is still harnessing sunlight and generating electricity, despite there being no residents to use the resources

Miyagi town marker, washed up in Canada after 2011 tsunami, comes home


Hiroki Takai, a staff member of the International Volunteer University Student Association, holds a marker from Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, that washed ashore in a Canadian town after it was swept up by the March 11, 2011, tsunami. (Hideaki Ishibashi)

Hiroki Takai, a staff member of the International Volunteer University Student Association, holds a marker from Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, that washed ashore in a Canadian town after it was swept up by the March 11, 2011, tsunami. (Hideaki Ishibashi)

By HIDEAKI ISHIBASHI/ Senior Staff Writer

A plastic boundary marker belonging to a town in northeastern Japan, swept out to sea by the March 2011 tsunami and ending up on a beach in Canada, has made the long journey back home, thanks to a group of college volunteers.

When the students from the Tokyo-based International Volunteer University Student Association (IVUSA) visited Ucluelet, British Columbia, in March to clear debris that had drifted there from the disaster, they were asked to return the marker to the town of Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture.

Ucluelet Mayor Bill Irving, who learned that the IVUSA had assisted recovery efforts in Yamamoto, made the request.

Irving added that he hoped that the town will exhibit the sign in a conspicuous manner, and its return will bolster friendship exchanges with Canada.

Hiroki Takai, 32, an IVUSA staff member, is expected to consult with Yamamoto town officials on how to present and exhibit the post.

“Bonds were formed as a result of the disaster,” he said. “We want to utilize the connection.”

Residents of Ucluelet, a small town on Vancouver Island, discovered the marker on a beach in March 2013. It is about 60 centimeters tall and has the town’s name engraved on the upper portion.

After inquiries to Japanese living in Canada, town officials handling environmental issues learned that it came from Yamamoto.

The IVUSA dispatches volunteers, who are college students in Japan, in and out of the nation on assignments.

Yamamoto, a coastal town devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, was one such site where IVUSA assigned volunteers. They helped evacuees in

temporary housing and other recovery efforts in the town on about a monthly basis.

In Ucluelet, the 70 Japanese volunteers recovered and sorted through about 10 tons of debris that collected on the beaches, including fishing nets and pillars of houses.

According to an Environment Ministry estimate, about 5 million tons of wreckage was swept out into the Pacific Ocean by the raging tsunami.

They visited Ucluelet at the suggestion of Takai, who previously was involved in clearing wreckage that had washed ashore from the tsunami in the Canadian town. When the disaster ravaged the Tohoku region, he was studying in Vancouver. He returned to Japan last year.

Of this, 70 percent sank in Japan’s coastal waters and the rest drifted across the ocean. Localities along the western coasts of Canada and the United States began reporting the arrival of some of the debris in late 2011. But the bulk is expected to reach those shores through autumn, totaling about 400,000 tons by October.

The Japanese government has offered a total of $6 million (612 million yen) to localities in the United States and Canada to help dispose of the wreckage.

3 Years After Japan Tsunami, Cat and Owners Reunited


Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Suika returns to his owners’ home in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, after disappearing in March 2011. (Wataru Sekita)

I can’t imagine a cat lost for 3 years would one day reunite with it’s owners.

News report from Asahi Shimbun.

By KAZUMASA SUGIMURA/ Staff Writer

OFUNATO, Iwate Prefecture–A cat was reunited with its owners on May 9, more than three years after the pet disappeared and was presumed killed by the 2011 tsunami that devastated this northeastern city.

“Where have you been?” Kazuko Yamagishi, 64, asked her long-lost pet, Suika, during the reunion at the Ofunato Health Center. “It’s just like a dream.”

Kazuko and her husband, Takeo, 67, were living peacefully with their black domestic short-haired cat at their house in Ofunato when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.

Unlike much of Ofunato, their house escaped damage in the disaster, but the couple could not find Suika.

They searched for three months before finally giving up hope that Suika survived.

On April 10 this year, a couple spotted a black cat curled up in a cedar forest in Rikuzentakata, another disaster-hit municipality in the prefecture. They took in the cat, which wore a collar and was friendly, and reported the animal to the Ofunato Health Center.

Days went by with no one showing up to claim the cat. So the center decided to print the cat’s picture in a local newspaper.

When an employee was taking the cat’s photo on the morning of May 9, he noticed faded letters and numbers on the collar. He deciphered the name as “Yamagishi” and made out the numbers. They turned out to be the cellphone number of Takeo Yamagishi.

It is unclear how Suika survived the ordeal and how long he had stayed in Rikuzentakata, which is 15 kilometers from Ofunato.

But a bell on his collar indicated that someone had taken care of him.

Suika looked content with his eyes closed and back in the arms of Takeshi and Kazuko.

Kazuko relayed the news about their pet of 12 years to the couple’s 36-year-old daughter in Tokyo. The daughter cried with joy during the phone call, Kazuko said.

 

Tsunami-battered day care center gets new life from military, volunteers


Image_42504446.jpg

The Hoikuen Aihara nursery school and day care center’s graduates, right, bow to their classmates during a ceremony held recently. After spending money to renovate the building following the destruction caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the area was then declared a danger zone by the government. ERIK SLAVIN/STARS AND STRIPES

By Erik Slavin

Stars and Stripes
Published: May 10, 2014

ISHINOMAKI, Japan — In 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake cracked open the Hoikuen Aihara day care and nursery school. The ensuing tsunami, which rose as high as 65 feet in this small coastal city, battered it further.

The government wrote it off as another casualty in a city full of tragedy — 3,162 dead, 430 missing, 50,000 buildings damaged or destroyed.

Three years later, at the end of a one-lane road in a neighborhood of squat, vinyl-sided warehouses and empty dirt lots, Hoikuen Aihara endures.

The renovated building is compact, but the tidy, wooden-fenced playground is spacious, and today it is dotted with plastic Easter eggs donated by U.S. military families. Inside, two 6-year-old girls are giving a graduation recital for their parents and teachers.

Miyagi mackerel bounce back


Good to see the saba catch increasing this year. Ithelps yo get the fishermen back on their feet. Reported in the Yomiuri Shimbun today.

image

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Kinka saba mackerel are processed at a fish processing company.

SENDAI—In recent months, there has been a recovery in the saba mackerel hauls from waters off Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, largely because of growth in the saba population due to suspended fishing in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

This is contributing to brisk sales and purchases of Kinka saba, mackerel fished around Kinkasan island in waters off Ishinomaki.

Many people in quake-stricken areas hope the increase in Kinka saba catches will help revive their tattered fishing industry.

Kinka mackerel is a high-quality type of chub mackerel fished between autumn and winter around Kinkasan island. They weigh more than 500 grams each with fat content of more than 15 percent. The high-grade mackerel reportedly accounts for about 10 percent of chub mackerel landed at Ishinomaki fishing port.

The estimated catch of the mackerel from last October to this February is about 2,100 tons, which is three times as much as that of a year earlier, or about 700 tons. The catch has been increasing since 2011, when it was 350 tons.

Kinka mackerel were not caught for a while as fishing boats had been swept away by tsunami from the quake, and fishermen voluntarily refrained from fishing, which resulted in the increase in the fish population.

According to a survey conducted last summer by the National Research Institute of Fisheries Science in Yokohama, it is estimated that the number of chub mackerel in waters near Kinkasan is 4.2 billion, or 2.6 times as many as in the summer of 2010 before the disaster occurred, and there are about 1.67 million tons of adult fish, or 80 percent more tha

Tsunami survivor speaks out


image

Western Washington University international relations majors Yumi Higano, left, and Ayami Sato, right, speak to audience members attending their presentation on Higano’s experience of the 2011 Japan earthquake on Friday, Jan. 24 in Arntzen Hall. Both students are foreign exchange students who are attending Western through the Asia University America program. // Photo by Jake Parrish

Reed Strong

Yumi Higano, a student from the Asia University America Program, was in class in Ishinomaki, Japan, on March 11, 2011, when an earthquake hit. At the time, she thought it was only aftershocks from a quake a few days earlier, but the vibrations increased in power and frequency. A little while after the initial hit, she received a text message from her brother.

“Everyone was hit by the Tsunami,” her brother said in the text. “Dad and I survived, miraculously, and we’re on the roof of a factory soaking wet. I’m sorry, I couldn’t save Mom, Grandpa and Grandma. Yumi, are you OK?”

Higano spoke to more than 50 attendants at “Mirai: Story of a Survivor,” a tsunami relief event hosted by Western Washington University’s Japanese Student Association.

“I remember that I burst into tears there after I read the message,” she said.

Initially, the JSA wasn’t going to hold an event this year because they were worried about sensationalizing the disaster. But the opportunity to have Higano speak changed their minds, junior JSA officer Liana Teofilo said.

When Higano’s family found and confirmed the body of her mother, she felt like she had finally been faced with reality, she said. While the emotional shock and depression is still present, she keeps moving forward.

It wasn’t until three weeks after the earthquake that electricity and water were restored, Higano read.

“I struggled to live every day,” she said.

Teofilo helped Higano prepare for the event. Teofilo works for the AUAP program — a study abroad program that brought Higano to the United States along with 52 other students.

For Higano, it is important to share her story of survival and give a viewpoint aside from what is depicted by the media, she said.

Higano worked with fellow foreign exchange sophomore Ayami Sato, volunteering for the Yotsuba foundation in Japan, which helps and deals with people at evacuation shelters, Higano said through Teofilo, who was translating.

Sato held a presentation on the Michinoku Future Foundation, which pays study abroad tuition for students who have lost one or both parents in the disaster.

It is a collaboration between several Japanese businesses, including a pharmaceutical company, that comes up with full tuition funds for students who need it, according to their mission statement.

The foundation is responsible for Sato’s study in America, and she has interest in supporting it further, she said.

“It is difficult to restore everything to the way it was before the earthquake,” Higano said. “However, we should continue to give aid until the reconstruction of the city is complete. I think it is my calling in life to tell about this experience.”

Higano is one of many people affected by the disaster and hopes to move past loss and realize the dream of a restored future, she said in her speech. Her stay with the AUAP lasts until mid-February.

Feast of Tabernacle – 8 days of celebration


Gregory:

Wow! 8 days of celebration in Kesennuma, Japan.

Originally posted on Bringing Hope - Love Miyagi:

Celebration-Feasts of Tabernacle

Celebration-Feasts of Tabernacle

Dare yori mo anatawo....

Dare yori mo anatawo….

kiseki no shu....

kiseki no shu….

Our guest at Singapore Night

Our guest at Singapore Night

Asae is interpreting despite having Shingles.

Asae is interpreting despite having Shingles.

Booth setup outside KHC.

Booth setup outside KHC.

I cant believe it … we had 8 nights of celebration . We set up the booth , provided nightly dinner ( both Singapore and Japanese style ) , praise and worship , nightly messages and sharing , testimonies and prayers .

In Kesennuma , this is the first time Feast of Tabernacle is being celebrated.
(read Leviticus 23:33-43).
Lev 23:39 So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month ( Jewish calendar ), after you have gathered the crops of the land , celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days….
This year the 7 day falls on our calendar as 18 Sep ( Wed sunset ) to…

View original 314 more words

Stories Sprout like Warnings in Japan’s Tsunami Wasteland


The disaster preparedness centre in Minamisanriku. July 2011. Photo credit - Gregory Cheong

The disaster preparedness centre in Minamisanriku. July 2011. Photo credit – Gregory Cheong

I visited Minamisanriku a number of times, and I am always haunted by the sight of the 3 storey disaster preparedness centre.

It was  a symbol of the destruction of the this town by the 2011 Tsunami and the heroism of Miki Endo and Takeshi Miura as reported in the news article below.

MINAMISANRIKU, Japan, Mar 19 2013 (IPS) -

As a survivor of Japan’s deadliest tsunami in living memory, Shun Ito dedicates his mornings to evoking stories of heroism that helped to save lives in this port town that was decimated on that fateful March afternoon two years ago.

Two names – Miki Endo and Takeshi Miura – frame the narrative that 37-year-old Ito shares with visitors as he guides them through this once quiet fishing resort, which still bears the scars of devastation left by the powerful waves on Mar. 11, 2011.

Among the few, gutted buildings still standing across empty stretches are the skeletal remains of the three-storey disaster-preparedness centre, where Endo and Miura served as radio operators.

They worked on the second floor and sent out messages through the town’s loudspeakers for people to get to higher ground as the tsunami approached, recalls Ito, who works as a receptionist at a hotel on the edge of this town.

“They remained at their job, giving warnings, even when it was known that the waves were higher than the building they were in.”

“They gave their lives to save others in this town,” adds Ito, standing in front of an impromptu memorial, complete with fresh flowers, which has come up near a blown-out wall of the centre. “We have to remember their sacrifice.”

Minamisanriku lost 1,206 of its 17,000 residents in March 2011, when 16-metre-high waves crashed over the town’s existing tsunami barriers barely 30 minutes after the powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake ruptured the seabed some 130 kilometres from Japan’s Pacific coastline.

The death toll could have been higher, thousands more, had it not been for the work ethic of Endo, Miura and other members of Japan’s well-drilled disaster response management programme, spread across the 12 prefectures along the coast, who sounded the alarm to save lives.

And as Japan remembered the 15,880 people who were killed and the 2,694 people still missing after the twin terrors of the earthquake and tsunami, the role of the first responders, so pivotal in disaster preparedness efforts, was celebrated.

The ones who died or went missing during their call of duty, like Endo and Miura, include 254 firefighters and volunteer fire corps, 30 police officers and three members of the country’s self defence force, according to official records.

“People tend to forget, that is why such storytelling is important,” affirms Fumihiko Imamura, a senior academic at the International Research Institute of Disaster Science at Tohoku University. “These soft measures help to plan rebuilding and to protect people from the next tsunami.”

American happy to learn owner of recovered ball survived 3/11 tsunami


Ball

Some good news for today…

NEW YORK – An American who has a soccer ball that floated across the Pacific Ocean to Alaska after being swept away from the Tohoku region during the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami says he was recently relieved to learn that the ball’s owner survived.

David Baxter, a 51-year-old radar station technician who is looking after the ball, which was found by a colleague, spoke of his joy in a telephone interview Saturday after the ball was confirmed to belong to 7-year-old Kazuki Yamakawa of Rifu, Miyagi Prefecture. Miyagi was one of the prefectures hardest hit by the tsunami. “This is great news! I am so relieved and happy he is OK,” Baxter said.

His colleague found the ball March 3 while he and Baxter were walking along a beach on Middleton Island in Alaska, where Baxter works.

Since Baxter has been stumbling upon other sports balls lost by the Japanese, his colleague asked him to see if he could trace the owner of the most recent find.