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A girl says goodbye to her father at a mass grave site in Japan

Toru Hanai / Reuters

Wakana Kumagai, 6, waits for her mother Yoshiko after visiting the grave of her father, who was killed by the March 11 tsunami, at a temporary mass grave site in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi prefecture, April 21, 2011.

Reuters reports:
Six-year-old Wakana Kumagai began to run from the car when she arrived at a temporary mass grave site in Higashi-Matsushima, Japan. She had come to see her father.

Earlier that day, Wakana attended an entrance ceremony for her elementary school. Afterward she went with her mother and older brother to a grave site. She showed off her dress and bright red school satchel as she described the entrance ceremony to her father. But her father, Kazuyuki, was dead.

Toru Hanai / Reuters

Wakana Kumagai, 6, shows her dress and school satchel at the grave of her father.

Toru Hanai / Reuters

Wakana Kumagai prays with her mother Yoshiko and brother Koki in front of the grave of her father.

On March 11, Wakana’s mother Yoshiko received a phone call from husband, Kazuyuki, just after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m. “A tsunami is coming. Take the children and go to the elementary school (shelter). I will go later too” he told her. Yoshiko picked up her two children in the car and, as they made their way toward the elementary school, the car was swallowed up by the first wave of the tsunami. Miraculously the car doors didn’t open with the force of the tsunami and the three family members made it to the school. The Omagari elementary school was a makeshift shelter for tsunami survivors. That is where the family awaited the arrival of Kazuyuki.

Four days later, he was found dead. His body was discovered near the elementary school where his family had waited for him.