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A report of damages of the 3.11 Great Earthquake and Tsunami with the photograph and the movie in Fukushima and Miyagi Prefecture

The 2011 East Japan Earthquake Bulletin of the Tohoku Geographical Association
1 May, 2011
Ryohei SEKINE, Asisstant Professor, Tohoku University
Email: sekine(a)m.tohoku.ac.jp

    This quick report confirms the damage of the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster in Fukushima and Miyagi Prefeucure by using a photograph and a movie. In this great disaster, the damage by the tsunami attracted much attention, and the mass media reports the damage of the coastal area of the Tohoku region frequently. In addition, the accident of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station that is located in coastal area, called Hamadori, is taken up greatly. However, in the mid-inland area of Fukushima Prefecture, called Nakadori, many serious damages by the earthquake are also caused. The damage by the earthquake in Nakadori should be recorded similarly to the coastal area. Photographs and videos in this report were taken from the end of March to the beginning of April 2011.

Nakadori, Fukushima Prefecture: Fukushima City, Shirakawa City, Date City, Kunimi Town, and Kori Town

    The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is located in Hamadori. A large number of inhabitants evacuate from Hamadori to Nakadori by the accident of the nuclear plant. Their shelter is set up in a school building of the high school or a gymnasium, etc.(Photo 1). They were forced to evacuate with almost nothing but their own clothes that they were wearing. Releif food and clothing in the shelter fill up to some extent, and many volunteers play an active part there. These circumstances continue at present, and it is planned that they will be moved to hotels prepared as a secondary shelter in the future. The temporary house for them is going to be constructed, but it is unknown what time the completion becomes. In such situation, the playing figure of children is the solitary salvation (Photo 2).

Photo 1. Shelter at Fukushima-higashi high school, Fukushima City Photo 2. Children playing in a shelter, Fukushima City

  There are a lot of damages from the earthquake in Nakadori. The damage of the earthquake in Nakadori is concentrated in the particular building and location, and an old building structure is damaged generally. For example, in Kori Town and Kunimi Town, the particularly remarkable damage concentrates on a kura, Japanese traditional storehouse (Photo 3, 4). Besides, the many buildings using the pumice tuff (called the Oya-ishi) collapsed, and a residence constructed on lands previously been used as paddy field suffered damages (Photo5, 6). The Shirakawa Komine Castle suffers damage for the cave-in of the stone wall (Photo 7). There are some steel reinforced concrete that suffered big damage. In the Fukushima Gakuin University, located Fukushima City, the second floor of the school building was crushed (Photo 8).

Photo 3. Japanese old traditional storehouse(1), Kori Town Photo 4. Japanese old traditional storehouse(2), Kunimi Town
Photo 5. Carriage house of the fire truck
constructed in an Oya-ishi stone, Kunimi Town
Photo 6. The residence constructed on land previousely used as paddy field, Kunimi Town
Photo 7. Shirakawa Komine Castle, Shirakawa City Photo 8. Fukushima Gakuin University, Fukushima City

  In addition, some landslides are caused in Fukushima City. This landslide made National Highway Route 4, is an important road for Tohoku region, closed for a while(Photo 9). The closure disturbed materials flow, rescue and recovery of disaster. Above all, the big problem was shortage of the gasoline. Until the end of March, long queues of automobile to gasoline stations have emerged (Photo 10).

Photo 9. Landslide on National highway No. 4, Fukushima City Photo 10. A queue of automobile to a gasoline station, Date City

  The locations of these photos of Nakadori can be viewed from here.

Coastal area of Fukushima and Miyagi Prefecture: Soma City, Shinchi Town, Yamamoto Town, Watari Town, Iwanuma City, Natori City and Sendai City

    The huge tsunami striked the buildings of the coastal area away one and all. Unfortunately, people lived in Fukushima Prefecture did not have a strong consciousness for tsunami hazard. Unlike the Sanriku coast, the tsunami barrier was not maintained very much in this area. The Matsukawa-Ura bay of Soma City was famous as a sightseeing area of the shellfish-gathering. Most of the Japanese-style hotel and the restrants built along coast were attacked by tsunami (Photo 11,12).

Photo 11. Fish market of Soma-Haragama Fisheries cooperative association, Soma City Photo 12. Matsukawa-ura Fishery harbour, Soma City

   When tsunami striked, a electric train stopped at Shinchi Station of the JR Jo-Ban Line. The electric train is destroyed greatly, and showing the powerfulness of the tsunami(Photo13,14). By the way, all the passengers of this train had safely evacuated. The rail track and some stations of the Jo-Ban Line suffered serious damage, and their restoration is not in sight (Photo15,16).

Photo 13. A destroyd train at Shinchi Station(1), Shinchi Town Photo 14. A destroyd train at Shinchi Station(2), Shinchi Town .
Photo 15. Railroad crossing and rail track of Jo-Ban Line(1), Yamamoto Town Photo 16. Railroad crossing and rail track of Jo-Ban Line(2), Watari Town

   The tsunami carried a large quantity of debris to the paddy field which was composed of automobile, a fishing boat, the building material of the house, etc.. In addition to it, the tsunami causes salt pollution. The drainage facilities of the agricultural water supply in this area was destroyed, too. The paddy field that cannot use in Miyagi Prefecture is 15,000 hectares1. It is unknown when the production of paddy rices can be resumed, and the details will need future research.

Photo 17. Debris drifted to a paddy field(1), Natori City Photo 18. Debris drifted to a paddy field(2), Iwanuma City

   Sendai Airport was also damaged, but restored by the aid activity of the United States Armed Forces, in other words Operation Tomodachi, quickly. In addition, many logistics base and warehouses are located around Sendai Airport. Such a facilities suffered damages from the tsunami, too. Sendai area is a foothold of the distribution of the Tohoku area. By this local suffering, the overall distribution of the Tohoku area was delayed widely, and caused the serious supplies shortage of the disaster area (Photo19, 20).
Photo 19. The bread factory, Natori City Photo 20. Cold-storage warehouse of the consumers' cooperative association, Natori City

The locations of photos in coastal area can be viewed from here.
Movie clips of the coastal area can be viewed from here.  


1Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishries http://www.maff.go.jp/e/index.html

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