Whereabouts of Deaf elder victim in stricken area

2011/7/19

It is a story about what has happened to a deaf man NAKAGAWA Shinichi (80) who was rescued from the apartment by his nephew in Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture on March 17 after the Great Earthquake hit the East Japan area .

News that he was rescued relieved those who were worried about his safety. Nakagawa's only daughter, KAGAMI Makiko (46) who lives in Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture next to the Tokyo area was informed the nephew through the cellular phone on the same day.

Electricity and the gas were not available at the home of Nakagawa's younger sister Shimako (67) who was taking shelter. Traffic and transportation remained being cut in pieces. So, some idea was brought up that Nakagawa should stay with his daughter Makiko, but he did not nod for approval.

Shimako explained, "He should have known how the actual condition looked like from watching the TV news and captioned broadcasting, but the feeling must not catch up with him. He thought he would be able to return home some day soon."

When the electricity was restored at Shimako's home about a week after the tsunami, Nakagawa misunderstood that the light also lit up in the apartment, and he appealed to her by writing, "I am going home because there would be a fax from my friends."

Shimako told him, "Electricity has not been connected yet, and the situation hasn't improved at all, definitely impossible to live. Even members of the sign language circle are also so struck that they cannot help you." But, Nakagawa did not accept her persuasion.

His worried daughter Makiko arrived at Kamaishi with her husband almost at noon on March 26. The couple had Nakagawa get into their car and took him to the apartment. Nakagawa witnessed the completely disappeared town, only fully covered with a lot of debris, agreeing to stay with Makiko's family in Chigasaki.

The snow began to flutter in the afternoon on the day. Without taking a rest, they headed for Chigasaki, and returned home at 3:00am the next day.

Nakagawa felt uneasy about a new life ahead and lonely from leaving Kamaishi. But his sinking expression changed completely when he saw his great-grandchild who was born six months ago. The baby's innocent face melted his stiffened feeling.

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