2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
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Impacts of the Disaster
Ethical and Social Issues
The 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan were considered as one of the worst disasters that hit any country in the world. This disaster also affected various parts in Japan particularly the northern areas like the Ibaragi, Fukushima, Miyagi, and Sanriku. Disaster agencies have measured the 2011 earthquake to be around 9.0 in terms of magnitude and specifically occurred at an estimated depth of 24 kilometers (Japan Meteorological Agency, 2011). The earthquake ranked in the 4th spot as the most destructive in the world in terms of its magnitude following Alaska’s 1964 with a magnitude of 9.2, Sumatra’s 2004 with a magnitude of 9.3 and Chile’s 1960 with a magnitude of 9.5. Meanwhile, the EWS or the early warning system of the earthquake was activated after detecting the very first P-wave that lasted for 8 seconds. The tsunami that claimed lives and destroyed millions of properties had recorded a height of around 39 meters. Area of inundation of the 2011 disaster was primarily projected by the GIA or the Geospatial Information Agency based on satellite photographs and aerial imagery. Meanwhile, field survey after the tsunami was performed on March of 2011 up to the next month. It was planned as an aspect of the collaborative survey and the data have been incorporated into a single outcome. In the meantime, heights of tsunami along the coastlines of Sendai Bay reached almost 10 meters with run-up distances in extending up to 4 kilometers. With these recorded tsunami heights, it is significant that the government will be able to adopt measures related to mitigation and protection against the hazards while promoting education efforts to avoid the loss of life. Interestingly, the waves and their period during the 2011 disaster can be approximated at around 60 minutes utilizing the source’ water depth and size. The waves significantly overtook walls created against tsunamis causing significant damage by the tough currents with the run-up along the rivers and the zones of inundation. In the like manner, the disaster flooded up to five kilometers the plain of Sendai. Tsunami flow reached critical conditions in majority of the affected areas that caused major damage. Videos and photos reported that huge waves attacked the area while data recorded by GPS, tidal gauges and pressure sensors for deep sea monitoring also helped (Normilem, 2011). Impacts of the Disaster
Seismic waves were recorded on the day of the tsunami at up to 22 seconds before the earthquake was finally felt by the affected areas or before the P waves’ arrival. Likewise, some shelters for tsunami victims were also inundated by floods resulting to the scarcity of areas to evacuate people. The tsunami also destroyed areas external to the danger zones as showed by hazard maps that explained the difficulty of making scientific predictions. Well-prepared plans related to evacuation as well as regular drills could have resulted to the speedy relocation of people. Hence, the warnings and evacuations plans prepared by the government are not enough to rescue more people to safety resulting to more deaths. The impact of the earthquake and tsunamis however are immeasurable that resulted to the overwhelmed response of the government agencies involved especially in the aspect of preparing the needed resources to evacuate people. It is also significant to note that the disaster destroyed major infrastructures like roads and bridges that added to the problem of evacuation and made warning systems to be ineffective due to the lack of channels for them to be communicated. The economic impact of the twin disasters that hit Japan was also felt with the sudden drop of the country’s international trading activities. In particular, exports of goods were affected with the lack of...
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Japan Meteorological Agency (2011), Tsunami information (observation) issued 12 March 2011, retrieved 14 March 2011. (Tohoku district.) Archived 18 April 2011 at WebCite
Normilem, D. (2011), Scientific Consensus on Great Quake Came Too Late, Science, 332, 22-23. Tsunami Engineering Laboratory in Tohoku University (2011),
Suzuki, G., Sugawara, S., and Moriuchi, M., (n.d.). Visual Communication Environment using Virtual Space Technology. NTT Human Interface Laboratories.
United States Geological Survey (2011) Earthquake Report, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/2011/usc0001xgp/
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