11 March 2012
Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan
Takahiro Shito (47; front row, left), father of 11-year-old Chisato, who was killed in the tsunami, and his fellow volunteer firefighters bow for a minute’s silence at 2:46 pm, the time of the earthquake. The firefighters gathered to pay respects to victims at the Okawa Elementary School. Teachers at the school were not trained in tsunami procedure, and had delayed in evacuating the school after the tsunami warning sounded. Out of 108 students at the school, at least 74 died; ten of the 13 teachers were also killed.
A year after the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated large areas of northeastern Japan, thousands of people remained without homes, and the Japanese government was still struggling to dispose of rubble and help rebuild livelihoods.