Earthquake survivors meet during the Kobe Luminarie

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Photo: Participants at the Kobe Luminaire.

The lights were shining gloriously on the faces of parents and children visiting the "Kobe Luminaire", a memorial event taking place in December every year to commemorate the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which took the lives of 6434 people in 1995. Almost three and a half million people came to the event this year to watch as the sky was transformed by an exquisite show of colorful lights in memory of the victims.

"This is truly a symbol of recovery,” said a tall boy as he stared at the "Kobe Luminaire" above him. “We need a symbol like this in Fukushima." The boy and his family, who watched the show in silent fascination, were part of a group of survivors of the two most devastating natural disasters in recent history. The little group comprised of 20 families from the areas worst-affected by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and tsunami and several people who had survived the Great Hanshin Earthquake that destroyed much of Kobe. The meeting between the families was supported by the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) and All Nippon Airlines, who provided the airfare and gave the survivors a unique opportunity to share their experiences following the two big disasters.

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