Japanese town struggles to recover after 7 years

Town officials were discussing how to respond to a devastating earthquake that had just struck Japan’s northeastern coast when cold, black water suddenly crashed into the building. Only ten out of a hundred people in the building reached the safety of the roof. The others that didn’t make it died in a 30-foot- high tsunami that struck 30 minutes later.

 

In all, the tsunami killed 20,000 people, wiped out several towns and city centers, caused one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters and changed this part of the country for all time.

 

Photo credit to: https://www.japantimes.co.jp

To mark the anniversary of the 2011 disaster, ceremonies were started across Japan on Friday, as the long recovery efforts continue. The Emperor and the Empress appeared at a national service in Tokyo, where a minute of silence was strictly observed throughout the country at 2:46 p.m., the exact time that the 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck 40 miles offshore. It was one of the most powerful ever recorded in history.

 

The government promised a response and relief efforts to the catastrophic damage. In total, nearly 400,000 buildings, some as far as 2 miles inland, were heavily damaged or totally destroyed.

 

The nuclear power plant in Fukushima suffered a meltdown on one of it’s cores. And 470,000 people were forced to find temporary homes. Half of the people evacuated were from the area surrounding the damaged nuclear plant.

 

A lot has been accomplished since then, however. 53 million tons of debris was later hauled off to massive landfills and incinerators. New roads and rebuilt bridges dot the coastal area.

 

Permanent housing has been found for half of the evacuees and some residents have been allowed to return to the areas surrounding the Fukushima plant.

 

Even so, no one really knows if the town will be spared from the next tsunami in this earthquake-prone area of the world.

 

Tohoku is waiting anxiously.

 

Reference: Tohoku communities slow to regroup as tsunami-hit cities rebuild on higher ground

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