National

High school students volunteer to sort waste in quake-hit Yamagata Prefecture

Kyodo

High school students from Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture, worked on sorting disaster waste Monday in the Koiwagawa district of Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, which was hit by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake last week.

Nine first-year students at Sakata Minami High School, two of whom live in Tsuruoka, volunteered to do the work because they had participated in a work experience program at an inn near the district in the past. The students are majoring in tourism and regional revitalization.

“I was shocked because the damage was more severe than I imagined,” said Sakurako Tamura, a 15-year-old student from Tsuruoka. “There are a lot of things left to be done, but I hope I can repay the kindness I received from the locals.”

In the district, roof tiles fell off and walls cracked during the quake, which left dozens of people injured.

On Saturday the Tsuruoka Municipal Government set up a temporary storage space for disaster waste, and called on residents to dispose of the waste after sorting it.

The students carefully checked through the piles of broken tiles and removed garbage and damaged or broken items that had been deposited there.