Saturday, March 10, 2012

One Year Ago Today- Northern Japan Devestated by Quake, Tsunami and Nuclear Meltdown

It was a year ago today that Japan got a taste of hell on earth after a massive magnitude 8.9 earthquake off the Sendai region in the northeastern part of the main island of Honshu. Immediately following the quake, a wall of water reaching a height of 70 feet in some places smashed ashore and up coastal inlets, wiping out farms, ports and entire towns.

To make matters even worse, the impact of the tsunami knocked the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi offline, triggering the worst nuclear meltdown and release of radiation since the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in what is now the Ukraine. To this day, a 20km exclusion zone remains around the site of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Cleanup around the nuclear plant site continues to this day. An estimated 18,000 people were killed and another 3100 missing between the quake, tsunami and meltdown. Another 87,000 individuals were displaced in the aftermath of the quake, tsunami and meltdown.

A firsthand account translated into English from a Tohoku University Professor who survived the Sendai quake and tsunami can be found here.

On Sunday, ceremonies were held throughout the country at 14:46 local time to mark the exact moment the quake struck.

Pilot projects to make land inside the Fukushima Daiichi exclusion zone inhabitable have gotten under way, using shovels and chemicals added to high pressure water guns to attempt to absorb the radiation. However, such efforts are considered a longshot.

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