Yuki Ikari/Edge reporter
in 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 struck Japan. It triggered a massive tsunami that flooded more than 200 square miles of land. The waves from the tsunami were estimated to be around 38 meters, the height of a 12-story building. There were 18,000 deaths, and half a million people were displaced. 90% of deaths were from drowning during the tsunami.
“For big earthquakes, the tsunami is going to be the big destructive factor,” said Vasily Titov, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Tsunami Research in Seattle, Washington.
Residents of Tokyo received a warning before the earthquake, thanks to Japan’s earthquake early warning system. This prevented many deaths because they were able to stop trains and factories. Texted alerts of the earthquake and tsunami were also received by people in japan on their cellphones.
Relief items were distributed, including hygiene kits, food, blankets, clothing, and household items. Supplies, temporary classrooms, and hot meals were also provided with support for education.
After the earthquake and tsunami, there were also aftershocks, many exceeding magnitude 7.0. On the same day, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant cooling system was damaged. Within a week, a nuclear emergency was declared. The 270,000 people within the nuclear evacuation zone had to evacuate. More than 1 million households had no water, but electric service was restored to 90% of residents. By one month after the earthquake, 90% of residents had water service and trains were running everywhere except for the destroyed coastal line.
The aftermath of the disaster included a humanitarian crisis and an economic impact. The economic loss from the disaster is estimated at $360 billion. It also left Japan’s coastal cities and towns with nearly 25 million tons of debris.