After the tsunami: what happened to the girl from Fukushima?

Before and After Images Show Sites Ten Years After Japan’s Devastating Tsunami

In this combination photo, from top left to bottom right, a ship washed away by the tsunami sits in a destroyed residential neighborhood in Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, on March 28, 2011, the same ship sits on the same spot on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, the same area is seen on March 6, 2016 after the ship was dismantled and on March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder and Eugene Hoshiko)

Thursday marks 10 years since Japan’s deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. Photos show the devastation immediately after the disaster in Fukushima and nearby towns, and the cleanup over the following decade.

Photos taken in 2011 show miles of debris, survivors escaping via rowboats, vehicles crushed and piled high on top of one another and boats washed onto dry land and even onto roofs. In some photos taken this year, new buildings replace those that were destroyed, and there is little to no trace of what is referred to as the Great East Japan Earthquake…

After the tsunami: what happened to the girl from Fukushima?

In Japanese folklore earthquakes are caused by a catfish, Namazu, that lives beneath the island archipelago and occasionally swishes his tail. He does so with ominous timing. In 1855 Japan was rocked by a big earthquake soon after American trading ships arrived on its shores, heralding the end of nearly three centuries of self-isolation. Namazu has historically been seen as a mischievous beast. Even when his thrashings don’t accompany events of earth-shattering importance, they often shake up a complacent elite and rebalance cosmic forces in favour of ordinary people.

Ten years ago, on March 11th 2011, Japan experienced the most powerful earthquake in its history. It triggered a 30-foot tsunami that killed almost 20,000 people in fishing and farming communities along the inlet-riven coastline of north-eastern Japan. The wave washed through the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear-power station, knocking out the power supply and causing a triple-meltdown. The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl shook a country already in the midst of a prolonged political and economic malaise…

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