Tsunami-ravaged school passing on lessons of disaster(津波の教訓伝える学校)

A staff member, left, explains the damage caused by the 2011 tsunami at Remains of the Earthquake: Namie Town Ukedo Elementary School in Namie.(震災遺構「請戸小」で2011年の津波被害について説明する職員(左))

 A former elementary school in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, is helping to pass on the lessons learned from the massive tsunami caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The facility now known as Remains of the Earthquake: Namie Town Ukedo Elementary School in the Ukedo district was developed by the Namie town government and is the first facility of its kind in the prefecture.


 The tsunami claimed the lives of 127 people in the district and left 27 missing.
 Ukedo Elementary School-located about 300 meters from the sea-was devastated by the 15-meter-high wave. The 82 students in attendance when the earthquake stuck were led to safety by teachers to Mt. Ohira, about 1.5 kilometers away.


 At the site, visitors can see the school gymnasium with its floor missing, the school kitchen filled with debris and a hallway with bent steel in the ceiling. The ravaged school, which has remained relatively untouched since the disaster, underlines the power of the tsunami and the importance of evacuation.
 More than 50,000 people have visited the site since its opening in October 2021- some 70% more than the town's board of education had expected. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many people seem interested in the damaged facility.


 Trips to learn lessons from disaster-affected areas are usually referred to as"reconstruction tourism," but the Fukushima prefectural government has dubbed such outings "hope tourism" to help draw visitors. The phrase reflects the desire to let people know that Fukushima residents are moving forward optimistically.
 The school sits just 3.5 kilometers away from a prefectural museum that was also built to pass on lessons from the earthquake and nuclear accident-the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum, in the neighboring town of Futaba -and both facilities can easily be integrated into a single trip.


 Ukedo's board of education is set to launch a cooperative project between the school and the prefectural museum and has created an official website in English (https://namie-ukedo.com/en/) to attract more foreign visitors.

( Translated by The Japan News )

 町教委は請戸小と伝承館の連携事業を展開する一方、英語にも対応した公式ホームページ(https://namie-ukedo.com/en/) を作り、外国人来訪者の増加も図っている。

 【 2022年11月11日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】