close
This ad will auto close in 10 seconds

To rebuild or not? Japan`s tsunami coast wonders

Kesennuma can emerge from the wreckage of tsunami but not witthout demographic challenge.



Kesennuma: When he was younger,
the carpenter picked a spot just off the Shikaori River and
built his house. Toshio Onodera chiselled the joints for the
wooden roof beams and cemented the tiles onto the front porch.

He mounted ivory-colored siding on the outside walls.
His parents moved in with him, and so did his mother`s
mother. He is the oldest son, and that is what tradition
dictates here. He lived in the house for nearly 30 years. Then
suddenly, on March 11, it was no more, it was destroyed by the
tsunami, a three-story wall of black water that followed the
course of the river and all but obliterated his neighbourhood.

Now he sleeps on the floor of a crowded junior high
school gymnasium, next to his 83-year-old mother and alongside
hundreds of neighbours, nearly all of them long past
retirement. It`s a community living beneath basketball hoops,
adrift on a sea of acrylic blankets.

At 57, Onodera is one of the gym`s youngest residents.
If he insists Kesennuma will emerge from the wreckage of the
tsunami, he also knows it faces an immense demographic
challenge.

"This is a town of old people," he says as he stands
on the foundation of his house on a cold winter morning, the
smashed remains of someone else`s roof on the ground next to
him. "Young people just don`t want to live in Kesennuma
anymore."

The beams he had chiselled were 75 feet (25 metres)
away, tangled with wreckage from across the neighbourhood. The
air stank of mud and fuel that had leaked from the
nearby port. He pointed to the remnants of house after house
where the residents are either dead or missing.

"No one will come back here," he predicts of his old
neighbourhood, saying he will stay in town but move further
inland.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

0 Comment - Join the Discussions

trending

photo gallery

video


WION FEATURES

Video: Suspected Kashmiri militants play cricket with AK47 as wicket

Nice, France: A year later, through the eyes of a Muslim

Top 5 inventions from Israel (Tech check)

Judaism, India's oldest foreign religion

Vegetarian beef farmer puts cows to pasture

Disabled dogs in Taiwan get hot new wheels