This was a post I wanted to put up last week when I was on death’s door. I think the facts are still fascinating, instructive, heartbreaking and relevant so I’m sticking with it.
As the anniversary of the Japan Quake/Tsunami came round, I wanted to find out where things stood a year later. I think we all can agree its remarkably illustrative of what a significant quake could do to parts of Southern California, and knowing how long it is likely to take to find some semblance of normality when the big one hits.
Perhaps some before and after photos. These are pictures taken by The Telegraph (UK), first on the days following the earthquake/tsunami and second, the same location one year later.
A year later:
- To date, the quake and tsunami left almost 16,000 dead, 9,700 injured and 3100 people missing. 487 people remain unidentified.
- In Tohoku almost 350,000 people affected by the quake/tsunami remain displaced from their homes.
- 250,000 people face living in temporary shelters for 5 years or longer. Some are living in temporary housing huts of less than 100 sqft provided by the Red Cross.
- Throughout Japan: 129,000 buildings totally collapsed, 255,000 buildings, half collapsed, and another 368,000 buildings partially collapsed.
- 1,500 children remain orphaned, having lost both their parents to the disaster.
- The rebuilding of some of the coastal towns, like Rikuzentakata, has been anemic despite the fact that government spending designated to rebuilding is set at almost 258 billion (dollars).
- In Rikuzentakata, a town that is almost always described as having been wiped off the map by the disaster, 2200 families continue to live in temporary housing and more than 960,000 tons of debris has been removed from within the city’s 89 square miles. (By way of comparison, Amarillo, Texas is 89 square miles; Orlando, Florida is 93 square miles; Palm Springs is 94 square miles, and the San Fernando Valley is about 260 square miles). Rebuilding is set to begin. Hospitals just reopened and there are some amenities, like a noodle shop in an abandoned bus. “The next step is prioritising building residences on higher land. People here feel miserable, like refugees, and want their own homes again.“
- Tens of thousands of people evacuated because of Fukushima remain barred from returning home. The government is only now set to declare some of the areas uninhabitable for decades.
- Japan has not yet been able to restore the electricity and power levels to accommodate for the loss of the Fukushima Plant’s supply.
- 25 million tons of debris, formerly known as the prefecture of Sendai and her neighbors was swept to sea with the tsunami, and a significant portion of that debris is now reaching the Hawaiian coral reefs, threatening that ecosystem, according to the March 2012 Scientific America, page 11. Even more troubling is this statistic: “Already as much as 40% of the world’s ocean surfaces harbor [human] garbage”, ranging from plastic to shipping containers to Sendai Fishing boats.
Already as much as 40% of the world’s ocean surfaces harbor [human] garbage
What the fuck hoomans??? (ok not anyone reading this blog, geez. Sometimes its sad to preach to the choir)- All you assholes who don’t read this blog: stop dumping trash on the beach, into sewer drains, anywhere but a faulking garbage can. Seriously- 40% of our oceans surfaces covered in trash. Someone try to convince me again that our species isn’t disgusting, go ahead. I dare ya.
But its not all bad!!! I mean hey:
- They got a 4.3 billion (yen) incinerator in Sendai to burn all the disaster debris, and there is a temporary bump in construction jobs- a construction bubble across the country, even…..
- Lights are back on in the Sendai entertainment district and the Mercedes dealer is doing brisk business.
- No, you read that right. For some reason one of the psychological effects of the disaster has been a marked increase in luxury spending, Luxury cars, German and Italian handbags and Rolex’- spending is up almost 30% in some shopping districts.
- Tens of thousands now assemble to protest nuclear energy in Tokyo, and the movement is growing.
- I found this website post which has amazing before and after photos. You just run your mouse over the picture to the right to see the before, then run it over the picture, to the left, to see the after.
- I use the term “prefecture”a lot now. A year ago, I didn’t even know it existed. I’m pretty sure it the equivalent of a “state”, but I have never bothered to look it up.
Sorry for the joke, but to prep for this post, I read so many articles describing the strength, resiliency and continued hope of thousands of people who have lost everything in this disaster and who continue to struggle that I cried more in 4 days than – oh a year. (All without being able to drink wine, because I’m stupidly sick.) And then I started thinking about the Haitians, Chileans, Mexicans, Turkish peoples, then I started to think about Katrina and all those people who got hit by tornadoes and floods this year, and then I watched 12 episodes of South Park, just to put everything back into perspective. F*ck Cartman. No, seriously.