A chilling silence fell over a group of Singaporean students as they stood inside a grey building in Iwate prefecture in Japan.
Vine-like cables hung across a gaping hole in the wall and the ground was covered in debris. The nine students, from Republic Polytechnic, were in a place that used to serve as a rest stop for tourists.
Said Ms Rachel Ng, 20: "I felt shivers down my spine and the severity of the damage hit me hard."
It has been five years since a quake-triggered tsunami hit Fukushima and two other prefectures, Iwate and Miyagi, in north-eastern Japan on March 11, 2011.
The building the students visited now stands as a memorial to the lives lost, reported to be 15,885. About 100,000 people were displaced by the disaster, which resulted in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors in Fukushima.
The students visited some of the worst-hit - but now certified safe - coastal communities from June 4 to 13 last year. It was a collaboration with the Singapore Red Cross (SRC), which had raised $35.7 million to help fund rebuilding. The sum, donated by people here soon after the tragedy, was Singapore's largest disaster relief contribution to a single country.
The students' photos and videos from the trip are now on display at a roving exhibition, called The Strength Of The Human Spirit, until April 3. They have also launched a photo book, available at the exhibition at $25. All sales proceeds from the over 1,000 copies will go to welfare services run by the SRC.
Said SRC chief executive Benjamin William: "We wanted to tell the stories of the survivors and account to our donors."
For the students, all from the School of Management and Communication, the trip was an eye-opener. Said leader Kane Raynard Goh, 22: "Despite the hardship (the survivors) had gone through, they were so open and welcomed us into their homes."
Mr Azmi Athni, 20, said the elderly at the temporary housing complex in Iwate were dancing merrily when they visited. "They pulled us in to join them. They did not look like victims at all."
Almost five years on, some survivors are still living in temporary housing. Yet, they are full of hope.
Said Ms Ng: "All one senior had was a garbage bag containing her belongings and her husband's altar, (but)... she remained optimistic and waited patiently for her permanent house."
Ms Kulvinnder Kaur, 21, said: "I am now more grateful for the simple things we tend to take for granted - my friends, family, home and Singapore."
• The Strength Of The Human Spirit exhibition will be held at ION Orchard, VivoCity, Westgate and Star Vista. Admission is free. For more details, visit the SRC website at www.redcross.sg