We all know the age-old saying: A picture is worth a thousand words. This couldn't be more true for the survivors of a tragedy who find the photograph of a perished loved one.
Recently, volunteers began collecting and restoring photographs lost among the rubble of Japan’s 2011 tsunami. The largest earthquake in Japanese history, and the ensuing tsunami, left 15,000 dead and another 9,000 injured or missing. Thousands more civilian lives were threatened by the nuclear crises that resulted from the disasters.
Now, nearly a year after these hardships, relief efforts are still ramping up. Cities are being rebuilt, and survivors are finding ways to restore a sense of normalcy while remembering the lives lost.
Those left behind can comb through photographs recovered by volunteers from the tsunami’s wreckage. The volunteer efforts and the gratitude of the survivors who are reunited with images from their pasts remind us of both the value and vulnerability of human life and love.
Above, a woman pages through a yearbook found near Okawa Elementary School in northeastern Japan. An estimated 80 percent of the students and teachers pictured in the yearbook were killed or are missing after the 2011 earthquake.
Photo: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters