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Ten Years On From Fukushima Tsunami That Caused Devastation To The Region

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Ten Years On From Fukushima Tsunami That Caused Devastation To The Region

It's been ten years since a devastating tsunami ravaged Japan's Fukushima region and became global news.

Parts of the land have never recovered from the effects of the tsunami, caused by the Tohoku earthquake that hit off the Japanese coast and - at its most disastrous - led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but as recent images have shown, there have also clearly been some remarkable efforts to help bring it back to life.

The earthquake hit Japan on 11 March 2011 at 2.46pm local time. It was one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded at around 9.0 on the Richter scale.

It led to waves of up to 56ft-high to breaking onto towns and cities, it decimated buildings, stripped houses down to their foundations, left ships stranded hundreds of miles inland and killed an estimated 16,000 people.

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A further 2,572 remain missing while another 6,000 were injured.

Ofunato, Iwate prefecture pictured ten years apart. Credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA,KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
Ofunato, Iwate prefecture pictured ten years apart. Credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA,KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

The most alarming point of weeks of tragedy caused by further aftershocks, was the moment the tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, irradiating large parts of the prefecture - many of which are still uninhabitable.

However, that's not the case everywhere and looking at much of Fukushima ten years on is to see a region that looks barely recognisable from the debris-strewn wasteland of spring 2011.

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Some places, like the city of Kesennuma, have managed to make something of a comeback, although far less dense architecturally than they were a decade ago, there is now new flats built while the large ship - famously washed inland a decade ago - has long since gone.

It's a similar tale in the town of Ofunato, which was seen around the globe as buildings and other rubble from the devastation covered its roads and depicted a truly apocalyptic scene.

Provisional counts listed 3,498 houses out of 15,138 houses in the town destroyed by the tsunami with 305 lives confirmed lost.

Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture - directly after the earthquake and ten years on. Credit:  PHILIPPE LOPEZ,KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture - directly after the earthquake and ten years on. Credit: PHILIPPE LOPEZ,KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
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Now, however, the town is on the mend, with streets clear and new buildings in place.

An area of Minamisanriku, in Miyagi, meanwhile was completely obliterated by the blast and, although now clear, is more barren than it was previously - a familiar tale with many of the areas in the region.

The fallout from the Fukishima earthquake is still being felt some ten years on.

Just three weeks ago a large tremor hit the region. The national Meteorological Agency confirmed that the quake that hit was, in fact, an aftershock of the devastating 9.0 magnitude tremor that struck back in 2011.

Featured Image Credit: PHILIPPE LOPEZ,KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

Topics: World News

Simon Catling
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