A North Devon-born author has written the story of her one-woman campaign to help a fishing community devastated by the Japanese tsunami.
Caroline Pover has been living in Britain and Japan since 1996 and when one of the biggest earthquakes in history caused a deadly tsunami on March 11, 2011 which claimed 16,000 lives, she was determined to help in any way she could.
One Month in Tohoku: An Englishwoman’s Memoir on Life After the Japanese Tsunami has been written by the former Barnstaple resident to commemorate the forthcoming 10-year anniversary of the disaster.
Following the tsunami, Caroline launched a major fundraising appeal – in North Devon and across the country – as she raised money to help a tiny fishing community on the Oshika peninsula rebuild their lives.
The Gazette reported in 2011 how she returned to North Devon to visit local schools including Braunton School (now the Academy) to raise awareness of the appeal.
To date she has raised £170,000 which has gone towards 30 different projects in the area.
For the past decade she has spent many months regularly visiting and supporting the remote fishing community – she continues to visit to this day.
Her book is a deeply moving account of the human cost of the tragedy, but also of the work to rebuild and her friendships with the resilient coastal community.
Caroline, who now lives in the Cotswolds, ran a number of businesses in Japan, living there full time for 15 years.
She said: “Oshika was the closest part of Japan to the earthquake’s epicentre, and the first part of Japan to be hit by the tsunami.
“It has been one of the last places to recover — at the time of writing, reconstruction is still ongoing.
“I am not a relief worker, or a disaster expert, and I have never been to any other disaster zones before or since — I just felt compelled to help here. I couldn’t not help.
“I first visited Oshika in the weeks soon after March 11th, when the peninsula looked like something you only ever see in a disaster movie. Despite that, I fell in love with the place.”
One Month in Tohoku is scheduled to be released on August 31. It will be available via Caroline’s website at https://www.carolinepover.info and via Amazon.