Evacuation and rescue 1

There was water up to the roofs below the pedestrian bridge we evacuated to, so we couldn’t get down even if we wanted to. Snow was also accumulating, and it was cold. The fire department arrived on the scene just before 5 p.m., but the area was so badly damaged that we weren’t actually rescued until 3:30 in the morning. We made it to our facility on the 13th. We could see the marks from the tsunami there, and it was a big mess inside.

The road in front of the office had also caved in, and it was like the water that came over the embankments had hit head-on. It was like the tsunami had come from both the ocean and the river at the same time.

Evacuation and rescue 2

We evacuated along the Sunaoshi riverbank. If we had evacuated to someplace farther from the river, I think we might have actually been swallowed up by the tsunami. Theory was useless in that disaster. If we had followed the directions to get away from the river, we might not exist in this world anymore. I really feel like that fork in the road determined our fate.

How trainees were at the evacuation center

The trainees looked kind of lost not knowing what exactly happened, and as I recall, I was feeling the same. We were all shocked by that huge tremor we had just experienced. We were also worried, I think, about what would happen next.

No one lost control nor scream or things like that. I remember that the ones who were usually kind of frivolous at evacuation drills also listened to staff’s directions carefully. I felt the evacuation process went much more smoothly than I had expected, and it is something I remember well even now.

I guess people understood we were facing a severe situation. We shared a sense that something extraordinary had just happened. Frankly to say however, I was not convinced about the possibility of tsunami at that moment. We evacuated to follow due process. This, I still think, was my lack of awareness toward those incidents.