At 2:46pm on March 11, 2011, a M 9.0 earthquake struck the Sanriku Coast. At 2:49pm on that day, a Giant Tsunami Warning was issued. Shortly after, the City of Rikuzentakata was hit by a tsunami. Our town is essentially gone.
On this day and in the days following, of the 24,246 people living in our city, we lost almost 1,700. There are still many who are missing. Over 3,300 buildings were either completely or partially destroyed. Included in the buildings washed away or ruined are our city hall, library, museum, gymnasium, civic center, hospital, pre-schools, day care centers, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, parks, fire department, etc. Our city has changed forever.
We created over 80 evacuation shelters, and at its peak housed over 10,000 people. Our lives have changed forever.
It does not end here. We are committed and dedicated to recovery. We will rebuild our city.
Your generous donations of time, goods, money, and personnel, along with your letters, cards, prayers, and support have kept us going. For this and more, we are truly grateful.
We do not want to be forgotten. We want people to know who we are, and how our city will change. For that, we still need your help.
Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and regularly check our web site for updates.
Thank you again for your support.
I am Futoshi Toba, Mayor of Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture.
The situation in the disaster area is still very critical.
We are often asked whether, “Is it really okay for us to visit the disaster area?”
“Do we need to be volunteers in order to visit the disaster area?”
We are working hard towards recovery, one step at a time. There are now several stores in town. We would love for you to visit us. If you have time during Golden Week or summer vacation, please come for a visit.
Being here, seeing with your own eyes, identifying how you feel about our situation here?If you could go home and share these thoughts with your family and friends, we believe people will continue to keep us in their thoughts.
Please, everyone, please do come to this disaster area. We welcome you.
Public facilities such as city hall destroyed by the tsunami, will be torn down beginning in June. We would like for you to see our city. We do not want to be forgotten.
This is our hope.