Middle school and high school gyms have become essential spaces for maintaining basic daily activities like eating and sleeping in the aftermath of the quake. At Takada middle school in northern Japan, junior high students wrote and painted signs in bright yellows and reds meant to give hope to the hundreds camping out in their large gym. “Everyone in Takada. Let us be glad for our lives!”
The psychological costs of this tragic event are already playing out in the behavior of children, the most vulnerable. A report by psychologists who have entered Sendai states that because there has yet to be any care for children, these children are already showing signs of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. The appearance of dead bodies on the beach, corpses washing ashore in evening darkness bring nightmares even to the adult. The loss of one’s parents is an unfathomable loss. These exposures and losses must be addressed within a week, according to experts, or the effects of the traumatic stress these children are experiencing will be long-lasting.