By LISA GOODMAN

Japan-map

Hundreds of thousands of lives in Japan were changed forever by the earthquake, tsunami (soo-NAH-mee) and nuclear radiation leak that centered off the northeast coast of Japan. Many Japanese students returned back to school in April, but were dealing with the loss of family members, teachers and classmates. Hundreds of schools were still being used as shelters.

Yuka Chiba is a 13-year-old girl in Kesennuma, Japan. “I want to go back to a normal life.  Here you have to be careful all the time, you can’t really relax,” she told the Associated Press on her first day back at school.

In the United States, many kids are showing support for kids in Japan who have been affected by the disaster.  On Facebook, groups such as “Kids Care for Kids-Hope for Japan” and “Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” are sites where kids can connect with kids in Japan and help send money and supplies to people in need.

DISASTER UPDATE

Earthquake: On March 11, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck 81 miles off the coast of Japan, triggering a massive tsunami and hundreds of aftershocks.

Lives Lost: As of April 25, over 14,000 people were confirmed dead.  Almost 12,000 more people were missing.

Emergency Shelters: In late April, more than 130,000 people were still living in temporary shelters.


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Organizations donated clothes, toys and hygiene sets to families that had to flee their homes. Photo: FLICKR.COM/DVIDSHUB
Photo: KYODO NEWS INTERNATIONAL
A month after the earthquake and tsunami caused explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a girl at an evacuation shelter is checked for radiation exposure. The device, known as a Geiger counter, detects that she was exposed to very low levels of radioactive materials. Photo: KYODO NEWS INTERNATIONAL

Radiation leaks from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have polluted Japan's waters and some of their agricultural supplies. Photo: FLICKR.COM/UZAIGAIJIN
NO TO NUKES: People in Japan and around the globe renewed calls to close down nuclear power plants because of their danger to humans and the environment. While President Obama wants to build more nuclear plants, Germany immediately shut down its oldest nuclear reactors and pledged to close all of them by the year 2020. At this protest in Tokyo, Japan, a sign reads: “We do not need nuclear electric power generation anymore!” Some of the milk from farms nearby the damaged nuclear plant has been tainted with radioactive substances. Photo: FLICKR.COM/UZAIGAIJIN