One Year Later
Who/ What were Affected
On March 12, 2012, the Japanese National Police Agency confirmed that there were 15,854 deaths, 26,992 people injured, and still 3,155 people missing. More than 130,000 buildings half collapsed, and about 700,000 buildings partially damaged. The Sendai airport was also flooded and damaged. Northeastern Japan’s roads and railways had severe damaged. There were fires in many areas. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan held a nation-wide televised- statement, and said, “In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan.” And, sure, that was definitely true. More than 4.4 million Japanese households were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water. Few days later, officials estimated losses from the earthquake alone would cost US $34.6 billion to recover.
The 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011 at 14:46 JST in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, lasting approximately six minutes. Sendai was the nearest major city to the earthquake. Hundreds of aftershocks were reported. The Pacific plate, which moves about 3.1 to 3.5 inches a year, dipped under Honshu’s underlying plate, releasing large amounts of energy. The motion caused the seismic event. The quake moved portions of northeastern Japan by about 7.9-feet closer to North America. In addition to the damaged buildings, The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant was also severely damaged. Because the earthquake and tsunami disabled the reactor cooling system, radiation released from the plant causing large evacuations of the area, and there were concern about food and water supplies. About a month later from the life-threatening earthquake, two bodies were discovered in the basement turbine room, most likely because the workers ran there during the tsunami. The plant is not expected to reopen.
I recently, in July and December 2011 visited Japan. I wanted to see the aftermath of from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Personally, I was very impressed with the Japanese Government’s efforts to rebuild the place. Food quality went back to normal and the economy in the country was stable. Electricity on the streets was strictly controlled (ex. lights). And many residents still wore masks; just to make sure they do not breath in the radiation from the plant. Many volunteers on the streets were asking for donations towards the disaster. I will definitely go back again!