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2011 Japan Relief Fund - Photo Album of Tohoku Visit (September 2011)

Follow Up and Fact Finding Trip
Six Months After the Devastating Disasters

Photos by Douglas Erber, President, JASSC
September 24 to October 5, 2011
71 photo(s) Updated on: Tuesday, December 06, 2011
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  • “Ganbaroo (Never Give Up) Iwate” Banners, signs and vehicle bumper stickers with messages of support can be seen all over Japan.
  • L.A. resident, Masako Unoura Tanaka (far right) just barely survived the tsunami when she was visiting her father in her hometown of Ofunato. Masako was instrumental in arranging meetings with govern
  • Masako Unoura Tanaka and Douglas Erber meet with Satoshi Kitahama, Asia Director of All Hands Volunteers, a U.S. non-profit relief and recovery organization.
  • Following an invitation by the Mayor of Ofunato, All Hands Volunteers have been operating in Southern Iwate for over six months.
  • Drying photos damaged by the tsunami
  • This “Thank You” poster was seen all over Southern Iwate. Printed and posted by the Japanese residents to ensure volunteers from All Hands Volunteers understood how much they were appreciated.
  • City of Koishi Hama, a small fishing village with a population of 100
  • Having lost most of the village to a tsunami 60 years ago, the residents of Koishi Hama rebuilt on the hillsides and thus only lost four homes to the 3.11 tsunami.
  • Koishi Hama’s dockside fish storage freezer building was also destroyed
  • The earthquake caused much of Iwate Prefecture's coastline to drop up to 1.2 meters and move 5 meters to the East.
  • Of Koishi Hama’s 60 fishing boats, only 4 remain, which they are using in a survival effort to “farm” scallops using concrete blocks and tires to anchor the nets
  • Masako Unoura Tanaka and Douglas Erber receive a rebuilding plan from the Mayor of Ofunato, Mr. Kimiaki Toda.
  • Ofunato City
  • Ofunato's landmark downtown building that used to house the Chamber of Commerce
  • Hand painted sign encouraging Ofunato citizens not to give up.
  • Major roads were cleared, but debris remain on the side of the road.
  • What used to be a popular Italian restaurant
  • Masako Unoura Tanaka (second from left) and members of her Ofunato Support Network with Ofunato Mayor Toda
  • Listening to stories from Hiroyuki Hayakawa, Japan Search and Rescue Expert. Hiroyuki is a member of Masako’s Ofunato Support Network.
  • What used to be the “vibrant” downtown Ofunato
  • Recent typhoon rains slowed the clean up process.
  • Ofunato’s Akazaki Elementary. Unclaimed backpacks.
  • A debris field two-stories high fill Akazaki Elementary’s playground
  • Collections of hazordous liquid containers are a common site across Tohoku
  • Collections of hazordous liquid containers are a common site across Tohoku
  • Ofunato’s fishng boat dock during low tide
  • Nearby Ofunato fishing boat dock sank too low to be of use.
  • Temporary housing in an isolated area.
  • Rikuzen Takata City aerial photo on March 12, 2011. Grocery store Maiya on left, City Hall in the center.
  • Grocery store “Maiya” today
  • Rikuzen Takata City Hall. 80% of city staff perished, including police and fire dept. personal.
  • Inside the City Hall 1st floor, where the “City Hall Info” desks used to be
  • City Hall 2nd Floor corridor. The Mayor’s office is at the end of the corridor.
  • City Hall records litter a 3rd floor office
  • Rikuzen Takata High School Gym
  • Rikuzen Takata High School main lobby entrance
  • Rikuzen Takata High School music room
  • Year’s-end schedule for the high school with March 11th agenda still legible.
  • Rikuzen Takata apartment homes for seniors. Located about ¼ inland, the tsunami reached as high as the 4th floor, killing many.
  • Rikuzen Takata City Pool, where local high school students and their teacher were training on the afternoon of March 11. Their bodies remain missing.
  • Inside Rikuzen Takata City Pool
  • Inside Rikuzen Takata City Pool
  • Destroyed vehicles still litter the landscape, along with other debris.
  • Rikuzen Takata baseball field now sits in 1.5 meters of sea water
  • A home with concrete foundation is the only survivor of this Ofunato neighborhood
  • Rikuzen Takata City Gym where 84 city staff and citizens sought safety. They would have seen the tsunami coming through the big windows. None survived.
  • Memorial at the City Gym entrance for the 84 victims
  • Slippers for visitors to the City Gym remain in the entrance lobby’s storage boxes
  • First floor foyer of the City Gym
  • Inside the City Gym
  • Clock remains frozen at the moment the tsunami hit
  • A victim was found in this car that settled in the middle of the City Gym
  • Gym equipment and personal items found all over the site
  • Gym’s office located on the 2nd floor. Clothing washed away
  • “Tree of Hope”
  • “Ganbare Fukushima” support banner near Fukushima Station.
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