Friday, March 18, 2011

Sitting silent in their classroom, the 30 children whose parents have not come to collect them after tsunami swept away their town

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.

nstead, 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.

Sports teacher Masami Hoshi said: 'The tsunami came just when the parents of the middle age group were starting to arrive to collect their children so we managed to get them inside and to safety.

'The younger ones had left with their parents a little earlier. The ones who went to homes behind the school probably survived, the ones who went the other way probably didn't.' (read more)