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Hachinohe Harbor tsunami debris project 日本大八戸市港地震津波 八戸市港 Japan

Tidal waves generated by a 9.0 earthquake off the coast of northeastern Japan destroyed the Hachinohe Wharf and its fishing industry on March 11, 2011.

Airmen, Sailors, and civilians from the Misawa Air base were joined by members of the French Civil Fire Fighting Squad as Red Cross volunteers to help Japanese business owners and fishermen clear tsunami debris from their wharf and warehouses.

The project was vital for helping a wharf-side soba restaurant reopen only 9 days after its ruin, and for helping fishermen have a place to rebuild their industry.

Note: As roving bands of do-gooding Americans were organized by the Red Cross and US military to provide large-scale recovery projects for Japan, the stories and faces behind the projects seemed to become hidden, diminishing the sense of purpose felt by the volunteers. To help keep volunteers motivated, I looked for the stories behind the projects and tried to put them in brief videos that I posted to the Facebook pages the Red Cross and military are using to organize volunteer activities.