Editor's note: The following was captured by Katsumi Takagi, World Vision Japan, at a safe shelter in Minami Sanriku, one the hardest hit areas by the March 11 tsunami.
Sachie is the mother of one year and four month old Kouka. She told World Vision Japan about the day when earthquake occurred. This is her story:
“Kouka was having a nap in the house when the earthquake occurred. I took Kouka right away and ran out side, but the earth was shaking for quite a long time."
"[The ocean] was quickly overflowing... and the tsunami was approaching toward us. As I saw the size of the tsunami, I instinctively realized I wouldn’t survive if I stayed inside. So I carried Kouka again, and ran up the hill as fast as I could. When I reached the top of the hill, I saw my house was washed away by tsunami.”
'I was in trouble'
Kouka's smile brings a glimmer of hope to everyone at the safe shelter. (Mitsuko Sobata/WV/2011)
“It was snowing that day and was very cold. I stayed the night outside with 13 other neighbors... I had no more diapers for Kouka. But one of the neighbors had a toilet sheet for her pet, and she gave it to me. So I used it on top of Kouka’s diaper."
Food was in short supply, too. "When an elderly person saw and found Kouka hungry, she gave me a candy," adds Sachie. "I chewed and broke this candy and gave it to Kouka."
"When the dawn came, fire department officers came to rescue us. We were frightened that tsunami might come again, so we moved on quickly. I took off the sandals I was wearing, and walked down the railway sleeper with my socks. Kouka, on my back was marching with me saying, 'one two, one two' as I walked."
"We walked all the way until we could see the rescue bus, and I think it was about 4 o’clock that afternoon when I finally arrived [at the] shelter."
'I am so grateful'
Upon their arrival, Sachie received milk and diapers provided by World Vision for Kouka to use. They were also offered hot soup. Thanks to donations, World Vision has delivered some 130,000 diapers to babies affected by the recent quake and tsunami.
"We adults, can bear without meals and clothes for a couple of days. But it is really difficult for small children without milk and diapers. So it was very helpful that diapers were supplied in this shelter. Thank you very much. I lost my house, possessions and everything else, but I am so grateful that everyone is helping us.”
Thank you for your support, prayers and donations to help World Vision bring hope to survivors like Sachie and Kouka in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.
Continue to support World Vision relief efforts in Japan.
Read the latest Japan quake and tsunami updates.