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Here comes the flood by Peter Gabriel Article-Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east news/world-asia-pacific-12709598 Article- Powerful quake, tsunami kills hundreds in Japan ap/20110311/aponreas/ as_jpan_earthquake

FLOOD when the


you have no home you have no walls

massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday, unleashing a monster 10-metre high tsunami that sent ships crashing into the shore and carried cars through the streets of coastal towns. Many injuries were reported from Pacific coastal areas of the main Honshu island and the capital Tokyo, police said, while TV footage showed widespread flooding in the area. One person was confirmed dead. A powerful 10-metre (33 feet) wall of water was reported in Sendai in northeastern Miyagi prefecture, media reported after a four-metre wave hit the coast earlier. Helicopter footage showed massive inundation in northern coasta l towns, where floods of black water sent shipping containers, cars and debris crashing through towns. Mud waves were shown racing upstream along the Natori river in Sendai city, blanketing farm fields. In the capital, where millions evacuated strongly swaying buildings, multiple injuries were reported when the roof of a hall collapsed during a graduation ceremony, police said. Plumes of smoke rose from at least 10 locations in city, where four million homes suffered power outages. Port areas were flooded, includ-

“We were shaken so

STRONGLY for a while that we needed to HOLD on to something in order not to FALL�

“waves of steel hurled metal at the sky and as the nail sunk in the cloud, the rain was warm and soaked the crowds”

ing the carpark of Tokyo Disneyland. “We were shaken so strongly for a while that we needed to hold on to something in order not to fall,” said an official at the local government of the hardest-hit city of Kurihara in Miyagi prefecture. The quake, which hit at 14:46 pm (0546 GMT) and lasted about two minutes, strongly rattled buildings in greater Tokyo, the world’s largest urban area and home to some 30 million people. At least 10 fires were reported in Tokyo, where the subway system stopped, sirens wailed and people streamed out of buildings. Japan sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, which is dotted with volcanoes, and Tokyo is situated in one of its most dangerous areas. A tsunami warning was issued for Japan, Taiwan, Russia and the Mariana Islands, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said. “An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicentre within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours,” the centre said in a statement. It also put the territories of Guam, the Philippines, the M The quake sent the Nikkei share index plunging at the close while the yen fell sharply against the US dollar. seismic pressure. The government’s Earthquake Research Committee has warned of a 70 percent chance that a great, magnitude-eight quake will strike within the next 30 years in the Kanto plains, home to Tokyo’s vast urban sprawl.

The last time a “Big One” hit Tokyo was in 1923, when the Great Kanto Earthquake claimed more than 140,000 lives, many of them in fires. In 1855, the Ansei Edo quake also devastated the city. In 1995 Kobe earthquake killed more then 6,400 people. More than 220,000 people were killed when a 9.1-magnitude quake hit off Indonesia in 2004, unleashing a massive tsunami that devastated coastlines in countries around the Indian Ocean as far away as Africa. Small quakes are felt every day somewhere in Japan and people take part in regular drills at schools and workplaces to prepare for a calamity. Nuclear power plants and bullet trains are designed to automatically shut down when the earth rumbles and many buildings have been quake-proofed with steel and ferro-concrete at great cost in recent decades. The violent wall of water swept away

houses, cars and ships. Fires burned out of control. Power to a cooling system at a nuclear power plant was knocked out, forcing thousands to flee. A boat was caught in the vortex of a whirlpool at sea. The death toll rose steadily throughout the day, but the true extent of the disaster was not known because roads to the worst-hit areas were washed away or blocked by debris and airports were closed. President Barack Obama pledged U.S. assistance following what he called a potentially “catastrophic” disaster. He said one U.S. aircraft carrier is already in Japan and a second was on its way. A U.S. ship was also heading to the Marianas Islands to assist as needed, he added. The entire Pacific had been put on alert — including coastal areas of South America, Canada and Alaska — but waves were not as bad as expected.


“I thought I was going to

The magnitude-8.9 offshore quake struck at 2:46 p.m. local time and was the biggest to hit Japan since recordPolice said keeping began in the late 1800s. It ranked as the fifth-largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and was 200-300 bodnearly 8,000 times stronger than one that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, scientists said. ies were found The quake shook dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coast and tall in Sendai, albuildings swayed in Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter. Prime Minister Naoto Kan was attend- though the official ing a parliamentary session at the time. casualty toll was “I thought I was going to die,” said Tokyo marketing employee Koto Fujikawa. “It felt like the whole 185 killed, 741 missstructure was collapsing.” ing and 948 injured. Fujikawa, 28, was riding a monorail when the quake hit and had to later pick her way along nar- A ship with 80 dock row, elevated tracks to the nearest station. workers was swept away Minutes later, the earthquake unleashed a 23-foot (seven-meter) tsunami along the northfrom a shipyard in Miyagi. eastern coast of Japan near the coastal city of Sendai in Miyagi prefecture. The quake was All on the ship was believed followed for hours by aftershocks. The U.S. Geological Survey said 124 were detected off to be safe, although the vessel Japan’s main island of Honshu, 111 of them of magnitude 5.0 or greater. had sprung a leak and was takLarge fishing boats and other vessels rode the high waves ashore, slamming against ing on some water, Japan’s coast overpasses or scraping under them and snapping power lines along the way. A guard said. fleet of partially submerged cars bobbed in the water. Ships anchored in ports In the coastal town of Minami-soma, crashed against each other. about 1,800 houses were destroyed or The tsunami roared over embankments, washing anything in its path inland ravaged, a Defense Ministry spokesbefore reversing direction and carrying the cars, homes and other debris woman said. Fire burned well past dark out to sea. Flames shot from some of the homes, apparently from burst in a large section of Kesennuma, a city of gas pipes. 70,000 people in Miyagi. Waves of muddy waters flowed over farms A resident in Miyagi prefecture near Sendai, carrying buildings, some of who had been stranded on his them ablaze. Drivers attempted to flee. The roof, surrounded by water, mud tarmac at Sendai’s airport was inundated and fallen trees, was rescued by with thick, muddy debris that included a Self-Defense Force helicopter cars, trucks, buses and even light planes. Saturday morning, TV video Highways to the worst-hit coastal areas showed. buckled. Telephone lines snapped. Train Officials declared the first-ever service was suspended in northeastern state of emergency at a JapaJapan and in Tokyo, which normally serves nese nuclear power plant and 10 million people a day. Untold numbers of ordered evacuations after the people were stranded in stations or roamearthquake knocked out power ing the streets. Tokyo’s Narita airport was to a cooling system at the Fuclosed indefinitely. kushima Daiichi facility near

“This is the kind of earthquake that hits once every 100 years”

the city of Onahama, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo. They said radiation levels inside the facility had surged to 1,000 times more than normal. Some radiation had seeped outside the plant, the nuclear safety agency said early Saturday, prompting calls for more evacuations of the area. Some 3,000 people have already been urged to leave their homes. The Defense Ministry said it had sent dozens of troops trained to deal with chemical disasters to the plant in case of a radiation leak. An American working at the facility said the whole building shook and debris fell from the ceiling. Danny Eudy, 52, a technician employed by Texas-based Atlantic Plant Maintenance, and his colleagues escaped the building just as the tsunami hit, his wife told The Associated Press. “He walked through so much glass that his feet were cut. It slowed him down,” said Pineville, Louisiana, resident Janie Eudy, who spoke to her husband by phone after the quake. The group watched homes and vehicles carried away in the wave and found their hotel mostly destroyed when they reached it.

In a televised address, Prime Minister Naoto Kan extended his sympathy to the victims of the disaster. As aftershocks rattled the country, residents and workers in Tokyo rushed outside to gather in parks and open spaces. Many people in the Japanese capital said they had never felt such a powerful earthquake. In central Tokyo, a number of office workers are spending the night in their offices because the lifts have stopped working. “This is the kind of earthquake that hits once every 100 years,” said restaurant worker Akira Tanaka. Train services were suspended, stranding millions of commuters in the Japanese capital. About four million homes in and around Tokyo suffered power cuts. More than 8,000 people have been confirmed dead following the earthquake and tsunami, but some 13,000 are still missing. In the town of Rikuzen Takata most of the children were in school when the tsunami struck, ensuring they survived, but many of

People come and go from time to time; some have come back home because they are tired of living as evacuees, some have returned to work. Every reason is different, but people are returning. One big difficulty is that moving and searching through the debris takes a lot of time because there are not enough people to help Also, restaurant chains are not open. Food safety has not been established and it seems the stores belonging to larger chains are being forced to stay closed by their management. Some things we need we can buy nearby, and some things we can’t. Private shops and convenience stores started opening (though not 24-hour) and we can buy drinks and some daily goods. However, distribution is stagnating and overall stocks are low. When I go out I wear a hooded coat that I call “protective clothing”. By wearing the same clothes, I try to minimise the number of items exposed to radiation. If I changed my clothes every time I went out, I would have to wash my clothes in potentially polluted water,

Reflecting on everything that has happened, I feel more sadness than anger. The earthquake and the tsunami caused huge damage to the Tohoku (north-east) region. People lost their homes, their loved ones, their jobs. People's lives were changed in a flash. But I believe striving forward is part of human nature. We will make every effort to rebuild our homeland. I want to see a swift recovery. But the problem of the nuclear power plant is a serious obstacle. The other day, the chief cabinet secretary suggested the transfer of people out of the Indoor Evacuation Zone. People have restarted work here. What happened to the previous assessment that we would be safe as long as we stayed indoors? It really fills me with deep sadness. I want to stay in Minamisouma living the life I had before, and I want to continue teaching football. But both my wife and I think it will be impossible if this situation continues. Even if the nuclear power station is brought under control soon, it will take several years to clear up completely and for things to return to normal. Right now, Haramachi-ku has the problem of radiation. Without it I think it would have been possible - even with the other issues - to lead a simple life here. However, we need funds and I think an environment that has a radiation risk simply isn’t right, especially for my new baby. I have to make a very hard decision. I want to live peacefully in my hometown. It pains me that I can’t. I worry about my mother. I went to Tokyo for five days earlier this month. I could see quite a difference between Tokyo and Minamisouma. If I stay in the Indoor Evacuation Zone there is no guarantee of work. I also felt that staying in Tokyo would be safer when I consider my baby’s future. I have no choice but to carry on with my life, and I will work away from home temporarily. I haven’t decided what I will do long-term yet. What I know for sure is that I have to give up my dream of being a children’s football coach. Sadly my life has changed completely as a result of this disaster.

Mayumi Geater

“When the night shows

the signals grow

on radios

all the strange things”

“they comeand go as early warning stranded starfish have no place to hide still waiting for the swollen easter tide the is no point in directionwe cannot even choose a side”

r se

The sun



Line Norheim Ask


This is a magazine that I made about the Tsunami that occured in Japan this year. It features a couple articles and a song- here come the fl...

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