Adventurer Sarah Outen helping tsunami victims in Japan

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AN ADVENTURER who is travelling the world for charity has spent a week helping victims of a tsunami.

Sarah Outen, 26, from Oakham, finished the first leg of her challenge London2London: Via The World in November when she arrived in Tokyo and is now taking a break over winter before she sets off again.

So far, she has kayaked across the English Channel and cycled 11,000 miles across Europe and Asia.

During her winter break, she visited the Tohoku coast of Japan. The area was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami which struck in March last year and killed more than 1,000 people.

Sarah spent a week with a volunteer group called It’s Not Just Mud. She worked clearing houses, where she vaccumed dust from houses and cleaned the properties to make them ready for carpenters to move in.

“You look around, maybe 90 per cent of the buildings have gone - many of them just washed away,” she said. “In terms of where people will live, there’s just so much work to be done clearing the debris, salvaging what can be salvaged and rebuilding.

“There’s 1,000km of coastline which have been affected so that’s going to take years.”

In the video she is clearly emotional as she surveys the damage.

She said: “I think there’s a few different feelings really. Seeing what’s happened here. There’s sadness for what has happened and the lives that have been lost. There’s hope as well. To see a couple really excited about getting a shop opened again, it’s really uplifting.

“To think all this happened by massive waves is extraordinary. It’s things like this that remind us that actually we’re nothing. And yet seeing so much courage, hope, injecting colour and life into this area - that’s really special. That’s also humbling.”

Sarah, a former pupil of Stamford School, will set off on her challenge again in April when she row on her boat across the Atlantic Ocean to North America. She is raising money for WaterAid, CoppaFeel, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Jubilee Sailing Trust.