December 27, 2012

10 Facts and Figures From the 3.11 Disaster

As part of the Kizuna Project we attended a lecture held by the Research Center for Crisis and Contingency Management at Meiji University. We learned about the 3.11 Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster, and the recovery progress. There is so much information out there that I found it quite overwhelming trying to piece it all together to attempt to understand what happened. This lecture gave a really useful overview.

1. The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred at 2.46pm on Friday 11 March 2011. The epicentre was off the Sanriku coast, northeastern Japan. While the majority of earthquakes last for only a few seconds, this earthquake was unusual in that it lasted for minutes.

2. The earthquake was a magnitude 9.0, making it the 4th largest in modern history. Using the Japanese Shindo (震度) or seismic intensity scale, it reached a 7 - the highest level - in Kurihara City; 6 in the rest of the Tohoku region; and upper 5 in Tokyo.

3. 15,871 dead, 2778 missing, and 6114 injured. 65% of victims were aged over 60.

4. 92.4% died from drowning, compared to relatively low 4.4% from crushing. This shows that Japanese building standards were effective against earthquake, but tsunami caused greatest loss of life.

5. 64% of victims were rescued by their own neighbours, while only 28% were rescued by firefighters and the Self Defense Force. Shows the importance of self-sufficiency during a disaster.

6. Damage from earthquake and tsunami amounted to an estimated ¥16.9 trillion. This does not include nuclear disaster.

7. By May 2012, 53,916 temporary houses were needed to accommodate those made homeless.

8. 22 million tons of tsunami debris left in affected areas - this is half the amount of annual waste in Japan.

9. 930,400 people have volunteered in affected region, and Japan has received more than ¥350 Billion in donations.

10. After the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant explosion, all of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors were shut down. Two have since been reactivated, a decision which led to widespread protest among Japanese people. Before the disaster 30% of Japan's power was derived from nuclear reactors.

(Source: Tatsuya Nogami, "The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster" lecture notes, Meiji University Research Center for Crisis and Contingency Management.)