Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Sanriku impressions

I have four overwhelming impressions of the tsunami afffected areas
1) the scale.  Unbelievable.  Almost impossible to fathom.  Almost every single inlet / flat piece of land has been affected in the area we passed through. (Kuji - Kamaishi).
2) the effort being made. The whole of highway 45 from Kuji -Kamaishi is trafficable.  Roads have obviously been prioritized, but it's impressive - a mammoth task.
3) the fine line between destruction and survival.
4) The almost complete lack of people.

Places in the north - Hachinohe and Kuji were affected, Kuji more so, though not Kuji town proper. In both places though it appears that the ratio of damaged area to non damaged area is quite low, which would explain why these areas have had the resources and capacity to clean up. Key infrastructure was not really rendered unusable. In Kuji there were large piles of rubbish on highway 45 - back a bit from the coast - but it seemed very orderly. The local govt, central govt, American military and the Japanese Self Defence Force, as well as local residents are likely responsible.

In one of the villages of Kuji near the coast they were having a local clean up day - people - mostly elderly up and about weeding common lands, sweeping etc. I figured if they were worried about pulling out weeds, other destruction was not needing to be attended to, despite it being so close to the coast.

I should have had a note book out and been more systematic in recording pictures against place names.  Even going along though, I wasn't always sure where we were.  Signs on local roads is not a strong point in Japan..
Had I done so, it would have been a more useful record..... 
A bridge just south of Kuji next to the coast - the barriers at the sides
have been installed temporarily. It is either on Hwy 45 or just off it.

Presumably debris has been cleaned up here somewhat.

This is the same location with a wider view - some debris, but
very little the area had no homes that were washed out
as far as I could see.

Looking south from the same spot 

Traffic was diverted onto a track that went alongside the river.
This would have been untrafficable after the tsunami

30 km or so further south - probably still in Kuji

The Shimohei area between Kuji and Miyako - Tanohata? perhaps.
Everything in the foreground has gone, houses remain at the back.

The Kita Rias trainline has been totally destroyed in place.
There has been talk of replacing it with buses.
Piles of debris

Passing by it's not possible to know what used to be in many places.

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