10 years today.... the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

....I was in Coventry for the day. I arrived at the hotel training centre where I was going to spend the day with teachers and checked in on the news with my new smartphone, and the BBC News was reporting that there had been an earthquake in Japan. I watched a video which had been sent through from the scene which showed a tsunami advancing across the landscape sweeping everything before it. It was picking up burning buildings and carrying them inland along with a wave of debris. 

This was clearly a significant event, although we didn't yet know quite how significant. It hadn't been too long since the Boxing Day tsunami and the impact in Banda Aceh, so this was a 'familiar' scene perhaps.

The original plan was to lead on a day of curriculum making for the Geographical Association who I was working for at the time, but this was slightly hijacked by events and we changed instead to explore the events, and for part of the day we considered how an event like this might be used in the classroom and the issues with teaching such a sensitive topic.

As the day progressed more news and video emerged showing the size and power of the event, and then later came the problems at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant whose sea defences seemed to have been unable to cope.

This is described as a 'triple disaster'.


Ten years on, how has the area been recovering? We often look at disasters such as this and then forget them after the event.

There are still problems with attracting people back to some areas.

A reminder of the fantastic book 'Ghosts of the Tsunami' which tells the story of a primary school and its teachers, and also the wider phenomenon of ghosts in the landscape which means that some areas are still not settled again. The Fukushima plant's meltdown also resulted in an exclusion zone and high levels of contamination which continue to this day.

A Google Earth tour.

Wall Street Journal - interactive illustrated piece on the aftermath and the $300 billion cost of the cleanup. Can read one article before firewall.

Check this Al Jazeera set of graphics and maps as well.

This report show the tsunami defences which have been built.