Back from the dead: Astonishing pictures show how Japan is recovering just three months after tsunami
By Emily Allen
Last updated at 3:58 PM on 10th June 2011
- Japan’s economy shrank 0.9 percent in the first quarter but recovery is expected between July and September
Just three months ago Japan was plunged into chaos after a cataclysmic earthquake sent a merciless tsunami crashing through towns and cities up and down the east coast.
The unforgiving tide of water obliterated tens of thousands of buildings, devouring almost anything in its path. Thousands of people died and hundreds of bodies have never been recovered.
The heart-breaking images of families desperately searching for loved ones amid the rubble of their homes sent shockwaves around the world.
Now, three months on, these images show the Japanese people remain undaunted by the havoc nature has wreaked on their homeland as step by step they rebuild their nation.
The pleasure boat ”Hamayuri” washed up on the rooftop of an inn by tsunami and a building have so far been removed in the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, on April 6, top, and on June 3, bottom.
A Shinto shrine gate and surroundings in the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture three days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the same spot on June 3
But despite their progress, stark reminders of the work left to do means the resilience of this Asian country is still being tested.
Headway in the clean-up has been made in the town of Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture where the pleasure boat ”Hamayuri”, which was remarkably washed up on the rooftop of an inn, has been removed, along with a building shattered by the the wall of water.
Further down is an image of a Shinto shrine gate in the town three days after the March 11 disaster.
The same spot on June 3 which shows thousands of tonnes of rubbish, which had lay smouldering in an almost post-apolcalyptic landscape, has been cleared, roads re-laid and power lines restored.
Civilisation appears to have returned in Natori in Miyagi prefecture too. The first image shows a towering wall of ocean crashing through trees devastating homes and businesses lining the coast, tearing down power lines and drowning anything in its path.
A residential area being hit by the tsunami in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, top, and the same area, with only one house remaining on June 3, bottom
A parking lot of a shopping centre filled with houses and debris in Otsuchi town, Iwate prefecture two days after the earthquake hit and the same area picture on June 3
Astonishingly just one house survived the wave and a lone digger is pictured having cleared away the once thriving community reduced to rubble. Hundreds of cars parked in the foreground remain abandoned and appear to be the only reminder of the devastation.
Similarly, the striking image of a ship atop tonnes of rubble in the Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture on March 20 was projected around the world and became a symbol of the disaster.
The photograph shows grey smoke filled skies above a path of destruction, but three months on, much of the debris has been cleared, power lines restored and hope is on the horizon.
A car park in a shopping centre, filled with houses and debris in Otsuchi town in Iwate prefecture is also back on its feet and signs of life are returning. Parking spaces are clearly visible where piles of wood, bricks, and vehicles lay strewn just a few weeks ago.
A view of earthquake and tsunami-hit Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture on March 15, top, and the same area pictured on June 3
The final image shows local people walking through debris on a street in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture to get water 48 hours after the disaster. The same image on June 3 shows the massive tank which lay in the road has gone and a damaged house on the left side of the street has been cleared and restored.
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused the worst crisis in Japan since the Second World War and left almost 28,000 people dead or missing.
The clean-up bill is expected to top £184 billion and radiation fears from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are still growing after four of the reactors were damaged leading to radiation leaks.
This week, an earless bunny was born near the reactor in north east Japan raising concerns the radiation could have long-term side effects.
Following the blast and initial leaks Japanese officials told people living near the plant to stay indoors and turn of air conditioning and also to not drink tap water.
High levels of radiation are known to cause cancer and other health problems but scientists are not yet clear if the defect in the rabbit is linked to the blast.
Local residents walking through debris on a street in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, to get water 48 hours after the disaster, top, and the same area on June 3 where a large tank and a damaged house on the left side of the street have been cleared away
Japan’s economy slipped into recession following the devastation and new data shows it shrank 0.9 percent in the first quarter of this financial year but experts say a recovery later this year as industry kicks into action.
Industrial output rose one per cent in April from a record decline in March.
Manufacturers are making progress in restoring supply chains and ecnomists are predicting Gross Domestic Project to begin expanding again between July and September.
A view of earthquake and tsunami-hit Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture on March 20, left, and the same area after the building and debris was removed on June 3
Top, buildings are surrounded by debris in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, on March 16, 2011, days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the area; and the same area, bottom, with the debris almost cleared
The coast is filled with destroyed houses and debris at Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, one day after the earthquake and tsunami hit, top, and the same area, bottom, with the houses and debris cleared as photographed on June 3, 2011
A burnt pickup truck lies among debris swept away by the tsunami, top, and marguerites are in bloom along a cleared street corner in the same area June 3, in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, north-eastern Japan
Fire engines park among the debris as a search for missing people goes on in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, northeastern Japan, on March 18, days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the area, top, and the same area, bottom, with the debris almost cleared as photographed on June 6
A ship swept away by the raging torrents lies among other debris on March 12, left, while a man on a bicycle pedals past a pedestrian on the same road June 4, 2011 in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, north-eastern Japan
A group of firefighters head for a rescue operation March 13, top, while, bottom, a truck goes by the same road lined with electric poles June 6 in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan