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Firefighter racked by feelings of guilt (JAPAN) [View All]

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AsahinaKimi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-19-11 07:51 PM
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Firefighter racked by feelings of guilt (JAPAN)
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Kunikazu Mega and Kaname Muto / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers

Volunteer firefighter Takashi Oguni cannot rejoice in his escape from the March 11 tsunami, despite his miraculous survival after being swept two kilometers by the water. More than three months after the disaster, he is still haunted by the screams of every other member of his five-man squad as they were washed away.

A fisherman in Otsuchicho, Iwate Prefecture, Oguni finds himself losing his temper at trivial things, and often has trouble sleeping. He can't stop replaying the moment the tsunami struck in his mind.

"Why was I the only one who survived?" he constantly asks himself, racked by guilt.

Soon after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Oguni went to a breakwater guarding the town to check for tsunami. As the waves in the distance came closer, Oguni ran back to a fire engine parked on the road below. The other four members of his squad were supposed to be there waiting for him, but they had gone into a nearby house to carry a bedridden woman upstairs to what they assumed would be a safe place.


Volunteer firefighters need care / Experts will treat PTSD, survivor's guilt
The Yomiuri Shimbun

The government will dispatch mental health experts to the three prefectures worst hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami to provide counseling for voluntary firefighters who may have been traumatized when they responded to the disaster.

In the face of imminent tsunami, many volunteers did such dangerous work as trying to manually close floodgates and leading people to safety.

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