HOPE FOR FUKUSHIMA
Fukushima Prefecture has always been known for its humble communities of workers. Townspeople, farmers and fishermen who quietly pursued their daily lives, knitted together by years of tradition and coexistence.
On March 11, 2011 this community was hit hard several times: First, by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, then a powerful Tsunami, the floods from which then caused a terrible nuclear accident and toxic contamination by radiation. Those who survived these traumas, were immediately ordered to evacuate.
Many people lost their homes, family members and friends. The world watched disturbing video footage in horror whilst entire communities were erased. Gone was the daily life in which side by side people are born, grown up, start families and grow old. Gone were the expeditions to the shops to buy groceries, the toil in the rice paddies, the long days of school and the fishing expeditions to bring in the day's catch.
All that was taken from them by a combination of the might of Mother Nature and the hand of man.
During my visit, among all the images of desolation and abandonment of Fukushima I was surprised by its beauty - in both its landscapes and also by its people. Time and time again I heard desolate stories of tragic loss - but always, hidden in the stories were sparks of life and of resilience - like the embers of a fire that insist on continuing to burn.
These people with their determination and fortitude, their love for their land and their willpower are for me an inspiration and should serve as role models.
For me they are the true hope for Fukushima.