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It's been five years

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Today, at exactly 14:46, it's been five years since Japan was hit by the Great Tohoku Earthquake, a day no one, especially in Eastern Japan, will ever forget. I have just read through the long thread that was created when the events began to unfold, and I was overwhelmed by the memories.

I remember those seemingly surreal days when we were glued to our TV screens, as the situation in Fukushima escalated, the desperate phone calls from the family back in the old country who often knew more than we did here in Japan, the iodine tablets issued by the embassy, dark streets, empty supermarket shelves, and the sheer horror as we slowly began to grasp the gravity of what has happened:
  • 15,894: People killed by the tsunami and earthquake
  • 2,561: People missing and presumed dead
  • 12: Prefectures affected by the disaster out of 47 in Japan
  • 26.3 trillion yen: The budget ($230 billion) earmarked for reconstruction for the first five years.
  • 470,000: People evacuated in March 2011
  • 180,000: People who still have not returned home
  • 121,803: Houses destroyed
  • 64,988: People still in prefabricated temporary housing
  • 60: Percent of planned public housing completed
  • 27: Percent of coastline forests intended for tsunami prevention restored.45: Percent of retailers and companies with sales back to pre-disaster levels
  • 70: Percent of fishing ports, farmland repaired for reuse
  • 90: Percent of railway tracks restored
  • 20 million: Foreign tourists visited Japan
  • 500,000: Foreign tourists visited three tsunami-hit northern prefectures
  • 31 million: Metric tons of debris created by the quake and tsunami
  • 25 million: Metric tons of debris treated
  • 13 million: Metric tons recycled as construction materials to build seawalls and ports
  • 6 million: Metric tons still in temporary storage in Fukushima
Source: ABC News

Let's just take a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the tragic events, those who are still suffering or are still affected, and those who volunteered to clean up and rebuild the northern coastline.

More on the anniversary:
Sorry to nitpick such a good post but the death toll should be 15,894, not 5,894. Yes, I know it's ABC's fault, not yours!
  • Thread starter
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Thank you, I updated the stats!
It was a truly tragic day, and unfortunately the effects still linger.
My prayers go out to everyone affected.
My home is about 100 yards from the ocean and only about 14 feet above sea level , so watching all those videos was very frightening . I'm glad the Atlantic area where I live has very few earthquakes.
I can't believe it's been 5 years already!
I still remember it very well, although I have to admit that I lived so far away that I didn't notice ANYTHING until much later. ^__^;

Watching documentations from that time still makes me cry.

I went to some affected areas by coincidence about a year later (in early 2012) and was so shocked to see the devastation there. :(
In resurrecting this anniversary thread, there is....

'Negligence in managing this plant opens up yet another register of gravity. Nuclear catastrophe --all differences military or civilian kept in mind -- remains the one potentially irremediable catastrophe, whose effects spread through generations, through the layers of the earth....'
(Jean-Luc Nancy, After Fukushima)

Most are unaware of the photo of the chigaya grass penetrating the Fukushima water hoses. This grass has evolved with soil fungi, so for example, we would be interested in knowing what effects the radiation has caused, if any, in mutating the poisonous compounds in mushrooms near Fukushima, let alone normal soil fungi:

Investigations over the last 15 years in Guangdong Province, China indicated that Amanita exitialis caused at least 80 poisoning cases including 32 fatalities....Most of these cyclic peptide toxins are chemically stable and resistant to high temperature, including cooking, and consequently, consumption of species containing these toxins results in serious liver and kidney damage.'
(Lethal Amanita Species in China, Mycologia (2017) 108: 993)

The profound paradox here is that chigaya grass (Imperata) has been used in both Japan and Brazil as a diuretic. What mutations in microorganisms have not been reported to the prisoners?
2017 - 2011 = 6 years, not 5. But I realize the original post was one year ago.

And, so many displaced people have still not found homes yet.
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