Japan was struck, in the mid-afternoon of Friday, March 11, 2011, by the country’s largest ever recorded earthquake. Within an hour, parts of Japan’s northeast coast were hit by a wall of water that swept away cars, boats, trains, buildings, roads—and thousands of lives.
It was with humility and respect, then, that I visited parts of the affected area more than 18 months on, in a special event this week in and around Sendai—the Japanese city most affected by the disaster, a couple of hours by train north of Tokyo. This “Sendai Dialogue,” cohosted by the Government of Japan and the World Bank, was part of the overall IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings being held in Tokyo this week.
Disaster turned to success
I went to two areas around Sendai—the first was the Arahama Elementary School, site of a successful evacuation during the disaster. The school is still in its wrecked state—just as it was straight after the tsunami struck. Debris is strewn all over the grounds–a mangled mass of vehicles resembling more a scrap yard than a school. The corridors and classrooms inside are also in ruins.
Filed under: Annual Meetings, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Multilateral Cooperation, Politics | Tagged: Arahama School, Christine Lagarde, disaster, disaster management, earthquake, Haiti, Japan, Koriki Jojima, President Jim Yong Kim, recovery, Seaside Park Adventure Field, Sendai, Sendai Dialogue, technical assistance, Tohuko, tsunami, World Bank | Leave a comment »