The tsunami attacks

Story: Nozomi Social Welfare and Vocational Training Center for the Disabled
Staff member: Mr. Shinya Mori

I think it was around 20 minutes after we started putting up the tents when someone shouted, “Tsunami!!” When we looked towards the ocean, we saw electric poles snapping like sticks and clouds of dust rising.

At that time I was still thinking it couldn’t come here, because this was an evacuation center. So I was just kind of observing it. It was my first time seeing such a thing, so I was in awe you know?

But then things changed. At first I could only see smoke, but then the ocean surface appeared. Houses burning from the fires came flowing towards us, and then I knew in my gut that we were in danger too.

There were a lot of people and cars from the community in the parking lot too, so we couldn’t get out with the Nozomi cars. I tried to go back to my post at Nozomi, but then someone called my name and asked me to help an evacuee laying outside on a bed. When someone calls you by name, you think you have to help them first. There was no time to think about my work priorities with the tsunami coming, anyway. So I was trying to get the person on the bed to a safe place while watching the tsunami coming.

I was afraid, but I was trying to get this person to safety because I felt I had to help. Then I was also entrusted with an old man with poor eyesight. Since I had to help him along, I was slowed down no matter what I did, but I tried to evacuate with them to the mountain behind the parking lot. At the time, the tsunami had already started flowing into the parking lot.

It came that far in the 15 or so minutes after I noticed there was a tsunami. I ended up getting swallowed by the tsunami, but somehow it brought me to the mountain behind the lot. Then after around 10 minutes or so, the waves pulled away and we were saved.