Families and city officials gathered for the last time at the disaster prevention center in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture where at least 200 people perished when the tsunami hit the building in the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. The center will be demolished starting December 3, to finally tear down what is a painful reminder for the families of the victims who died almost three years ago.
There were initial discussions to preserve the building as a memorial for the disaster that hit the region in 2011, but upon a vote, the Kamaishi government decided to tear it down, as the surviving family members find it too painful to always be reminded of the tragedy every time they would see the center. Many residents rushed to this place even though it wasn’t a tsunami evacuation center, mostly because the government was unable to inform the people about the city’s evacuation plans in case of this kind of emergency. It was swamped by the tsunami waves, killing most of the people who ran to it for shelter.
Before the demolition, the city preserved the memories of the building by recording its structure in 3D images, which will also help disaster prevention research projects. The walls and floors that bear the marks of the tsunami will be removed, as well as the altar that was set up by grieving families in the aftermath of the tsunami. Kamaishi Mayor Takenori Noda acknowledged in his speech that the tragedy that happened in the building could have been avoided or lessened if the city had better awareness of risk management.
[ via Mainichi ]