2016 Okawa Elementary School

14 images Created 30 Mar 2016

When the March 11th 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami struck the north east coast of Japan the students and teachers at Okawa Elementary School must have thought they would be safe from the worst of its effects. The distinctive school buildings were reinforced with steel and stood several kilometres inland from the ocean in a wide rural valley north of Ishinomaki. Perhaps it was that false sense of security that led to the delayed evacuation of the children and ultimately the deaths of 84 staff and students who were engulfed my the tsunami later that afternoon .

Today there remains a lot of anger about the indecision of the teachers and for some parents and relatives the school buildings are a painful reminder of their tragedy. Many want the remaining ruins to be demolished.

The Mayor of Ishinomaki, Hiroshi Kameyama, along with around 70 percent of the residents of the area have decided it would be better to keep the school to remember the victims of the disaster. A memorial park will be built around the site that commemorates those that lost their lives there and educates visitors on earthquake and tsunami preparedness.
View: 100 | All