Japan school still serving as shelter six months after disaster

Children with backpacks full of books and pencils still walk across the playground each morning at Watanoha Elementary School.

But 5 1/2 months after their homes were destroyed by a horrific tsunami, the half-dozen kids are living in the school with their families rather than studying or playing there.

Principal Yoshiki Takahashi, who remains in charge of the facility, said the students are bused to two other schools in the battered fishing town while officials decide what to do with the elementary school turned shelter.

In the weeks following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the school was struggling to feed about 1,200 residents who were staying there when top U.S. military officials and U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos visited. As of last week, there were still 99 men, women and children living in classrooms and the school gymnasium while they waited for temporary housing.

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