Ohio University Reaches Out To Tsunami Victims In Japan

By
WOUB Staff Writer

Dateline
Updated Fri, Dec 2, 2011 8:45 am

Japan is still struggling after a tsunami hit the northeast coast in March.

Two Ohio University professors are hoping to bring some help and good will to the region by creating an ongoing volunteer project.

"The devastation was so extreme that we realized that there will be work to be done for at least five years, probably quite a bit longer," says Arts and Sciences Professor Thomas Scanlan.

The idea came up after the two professors visited Japan in September.

Together with 10 OU students, they visited  a river bed that was still filled with debris.

"We were doing the riverbed cleanup next to a middle school. And this middle school was three story building and the water came up over the second story. And almost all of the children in the middle school died. And we were allowed to go into the building. And it was very moving. Very sad," says Scanlan.

The OU students, who are currently studying at Chubu University in South Japan, also volunteered in a kindergarten that was destroyed.

One reason they decided to visit this kindergarten was because the director of the program likes to read english books to the children.

"These were the books many of them were destroyed in the Tsunami. and so we brought a huge suitcase full of these books," says Japanese Language Professor Christopher Thompson. "And the kids were glued to our students reading these stories in english because they were familiar with the stories."

For the next five years, a group of students, faculty and staff will visit this region every year to bring help.

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