Pinoy, Japanese students share disaster experiences

By Paul Henson, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 28 2012 05:57 PM | Updated as of Dec 29 2012 01:57 AM

JAPAN - Students from Japan and the Philippines recently met to learn about disaster prevention and share their experiences on natural disasters.

Japanese students

Filipino student delegates to the Kizuna Project of the Japan International Cooperation Center and National Youth Commission went to disaster areas in Japan which were struck by the massive earthquake and tsunami last year, killing 15,000 people.

While in Japan, their goal is to learn more about disaster prevention.

The Filipino students were moved to see items washed up by the tsunami: children’s school bags, toys, photo albums and frames and clothes.

No one knows if their owners are still alive.

The Filipino delegates also had a chance to interact with their Japanese counterparts.

Soft-cushioned toys invented by student Satomi Odauchi are not just educational. They can be worn as protective headgear by kids during an earthquake, and can also function as an emergency bag.

“I was also a victim. It was a hard experience. So in the university there are series of projects for the disaster preparedness,” Odauchi said.

Japanese students also showcased a robot invention which can clear debris in disaster areas, as well as scale models of disaster-proof buildings.

“Into action talaga para naman malaman ng iba kung ano yung dapat gawin pag dating ng disaster,” said Nikki Apao, a Youth Ambassador of the Kizuna Project.

“Ang bilis ng recovery process nila kasi yung mga tao mayroon din silang initiative para mas mapabilis ang recovery process nila,” said Joshua Corpuz, another Youth Ambassador for the Kizuna Project.

Odauchi offers an advice to young people who are victims natural calamities.

“I would like to send a message to the Filipino people that even though you may have a hard time, try to smile, help each other and I hope you can overcome,” she said.

The Filipino students did their share by spreading some good cheer to the Japanese audience. They also left behind simple tokens to new friends who share the same experiences of strength and survival amid natural disasters.