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Event to mourn earthquake victims held by Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Exploring possibilities of aid for disaster areas

An event entitled "Requiem-and a small step forward" (held by the Waseda University Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences) was held on the Waseda University Toyama Campus on April 11th. The event was held to mourn the countless victims who died in the East Japan Earthquake, as well as to explore possibilities of aid for disaster areas from the Waseda campus. The event was attended by approximately 100 students, faculty and staff.

The number of people who have died or gone missing due to the earthquake has risen to 26,848 (as of April 11th). More than 150 thousand people have been forced to evacuate their homes. At our university, there are students, faculty and staff who face an uncertain future due to the affects of the disaster on family and relatives. In view of this grave situation, an event was held to memorialize the dead and to explore the possibility of measures for sending aid from the Waseda campus. The event included a speech and activity report (first half) and a discussion-based workshop (second half).

The first half of the event began with a presentation by Mr. Tadahiro Yoshikawa, Director of the Laboratory of Urban Safety Planning. "I can understand how people wish to call the disaster as unforeseeable event. However, considering the number of lives that were lost, it is not acceptable to simply label the disaster as such," stressed Mr. Yoshikawa. "We must confront the damage and develop ways to anticipate such disasters in the future." Mr. Yoshikawa then continued his explanation by raising the example of the Taro district in Miyako City. The district suffered catastrophic damage despite being protected by a coastal levee.

Mr. Yoshikawa's presentation was followed by an alumni report on conditions in disaster areas and on student volunteer activities. There was also a research report given by faculty.

"I visited the disaster site, but, to be honest, there are no words to describe what I saw and felt." "My opinion of young people rose dramatically when I saw volunteers clearing mud from people's houses." "We must not forget the concern for the earthquake." Through such statements, each of the speakers conveyed their feelings towards recovery efforts.

The workshop in the second half of the event was held in the graduate student lounge located on the 1st floor of Building No. 33 on the Toyama Campus. Participants divided into small groups to discuss their experience regarding the earthquake. Groups also actively exchanged opinions regarding possible aid activities. Since April 11th, the same lounge has also been used as the East Japan Earthquake Center for Recovery & Aid Information (tentative name). The center gathers and distributes information related to the affect of the disaster on current students, as well as on the status of volunteer activities. The center also serves as a place to exchange opinions and receive advice regarding feelings of uncertainty related to damage and suffering.

Related Links

Website of the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences