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08

Aug

Japan And Tsunamis

Japans location could be the most probable reason as to why it is the home of the most terrific and killer earthquakes and tsunamis. It is located along the pacific ring of fire which is believed to be the most active earthquake belt of the world. Here the rigid plates of the earth crust move colliding along the Pacific Ocean rim. When they stop for a period of time, they accumulate a lot of energy and when they start moving, the movement is drastic, and could explode causing earth quakes.

Over a long period of years back, japan has experienced a countless number of earthquakes. The recent one was the 2011 quake which caused a deadly tsunami. It was the most terrific one among all others that had occurred in japan before as it was ranked the fifth largest earthquake worldwide, with a 9.0 magnitude.It is believed that the quake caused a vertical shift at the fault in the sea floor and displaced the water columns leading to generation of massive energy waves which were called Tsunami.

The disaster being two- fold in nature, left devastating impacts on the country. The impacts were felt physically, environmentally and economically and are explored as follows:

Physical impact

After the earthquake and the consequential tsunami, an estimate of 330,000 people, from the casualty areas of Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi were displaced. A total of 15,800 were confirmed dead and 3000 went missing. Apart from buildings, other infrastructure like roads, bridges and railways were damage. A rough estimate of 400 roads, 75 bridges and 29 railways were damaged. The tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear power station, causing a nuclear accident and later the melt down of the three nuclear reactors.  The Fukushima accident led to release of radioactive pollutants to air, water and land. 

Economic impact

Here the effects of the double-disaster were heavily felt. First, a vast number hectares of farmland, containing mostly rice plantations were damaged by the tsunami. Also, the seawater left in the soil, was a great damage as it would render the plantations infertile and unproductive for years. The fishing industry also felt the impact where an estimate of 28,000 fishing boats were destroyed and around 400 fishermen killed. The tsunami also disrupted transportation services, and this consequently seen millions 

of chicken die due to lack of feeds which were to be supplied from overseas. The casualty region of Tohuku, was the home of crucial factories that manufacture cars, chemical plants and energy infrastructures which were the highest generators of GDP to the Japanese economy.

 

Environmental impact

The tsunami sawthousands of fish get washed ashore where they later suffocated and died. Many sea birds were buried alive while many shorebirds were left homeless as their nests were washed away by the floods. The tsunami also damaged sensitive ecosystems such as marshes, tidal plants and lagoons. Also in Iwate region, some coastal pine forests and reed beds were totally destroyed. The enormous amount of radiation released to the atmosphere by the Fukushima nuclear power plant melt down has had devastating effect on the ecology. Mostly birds and mammals decreased in population due to an upsurge in radioactive contamination levels.

 

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