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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    One year after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake rocked Japan and triggered a powerful tsunami, time stands still at Kadonowaki Elementary School in Ishinomaki.
    Jake Whitman/ABC
  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Some 230 Students and teachers at Kadonowaki Elementary safely evacuated to a hill behind the school, before the tsunami crashed ashore. Little has been cleaned up at this third and fourth grade classroom, one year later.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    In the wake of the tsunami, a fire erupted inside the school. Flames engulfed the building, minutes after the waves swept through grounds and the fire burned for two days.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    As the tsunami and fire took over the school, teachers used their desks to build a bridge to higher ground. Their quick thinking saved the lives of 50 residents from nearby neighborhoods.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    More than 3,000 people died in Ishinomaki, alone. Across Japan's northeast coast, nearly 20,000 are dead or missing, according to Japan's National Police Agency.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Time stands still inside one classroom. This broken clock that still hangs on the wall stopped at the exact time the tsunami hit the school.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Charred ruins of students' desks are still neatly aligned.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Remains of a broken skateboard left behind offer a glimpse into life before March 11, 2011 at the Kadonowaki Elementary School.
    Jake Whitman/ABC
  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    The waves that flattened Ishinomaki's coastline were more than 30 feet high. Muddy debris that coated classroom floors, were never removed.
    Jake Whitman/ABC
  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Students and teachers at Kadonowaki Elementary had less than 30 minutes to evacuate once the tsunami approached. Backpacks left behind litter the hallways of the burned school.
    Jake Whitman/ABC
  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Parents at Okawa Elementary in Ishinomaki, Japan, haven't stopped grieving, since 84 students and teachers died in the tsunami. The school unveiled this statue of a mother protecting her child in the fall, with the words "Ko-mamori" engraved. It means to "protect a child" in Japanese.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Okawa Elementary was a two-story building on the banks of the Kitakami River. The disaster-prevention manual called for students to evacuate to higher ground, but teachers led them to the playground because they thought the hill behind the school, shown here, was too steep for children to climb.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    When Okawa Elementary teachers tried to evacuate students to a nearby bridge, waves engulfed the structure and several people were swept away. Of the 108 students at the the tsunami killed 74 and 10 teachers. Four students and one teacher from the school are still missing.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Yoshihama Elementary School in Ishinomaki, Japan, sits along the Kitakami River, but the school didn't lose any students or teachers in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11, 2011. They found shelter on the roof of the building.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Bare beams and rubble are all that's left of the Yoshihama Elementary School's gym. A basketball hoop clings to a cluster of twisted metal and tree branches.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    Some 250 million tons of tsunami debris were scattered across the region. Only about 5 percent have been permanently removed because cities outside of the disaster areas have refused to take in the load.
    Jake Whitman/ABC
  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    A view through the broken glass of a door to one of the classrooms.
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  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    The powerful tsunami waves tossed aside empty desks like toys when it ripped through the Yoshihama Elementary School.
    Jake Whitman/ABC
  • The Tsunami: One Year Later

    At the Yoshihama Elementary School, someone left flowers in one student's cubby.
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