Thursday, March 17, 2011

30 Children Sit Quietly in Their Classroom Waiting For Parents Who May Never Come

With so much damage and destruction in Japan, focus can often shift to numbers instead of stories. As horrific as those numbers are it is the stories that show you the true magnitude of the loss. How do you explain to an eight year old child that their parent was crushed in what should have been the safety of their home, that the sea literally swept in and swallowed them whole, and that the last time they saw their mom and dad was the last time they ever will in this life...

"Even amid the carnage and despair of Japan's tsunami victims, the plight of the 30 children at Kama Elementary School is heartbreaking.

They sit quietly in the corner of a third-floor classroom where they have waited each day since the tsunami swept into the town of Ishinomaki for their parents to collect them. So far, no one has come and few at the school now believe they will.

Teachers think that some of the boys and girls, aged between eight and 12, know their fathers and mothers are among the missing and will never again turn up at the gates of the school on the eastern outskirts of the town, but they are saying nothing.

Instead, they wait patiently reading books or playing card games watched over by relatives and teachers, who prevent anyone from speaking to them.

Officials fear that even the sound of the door sliding back might raise false hope that a parent has come to collect them. Their silence is in marked contrast to other children playing in the corridors of the four-storey building, whose parents survived due to a complete fluke.

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