Last Updated 18 Jan 2021

The Japanes Tsunami Disaster

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On March 11th 2011 at 2:48pm a magnitude 9 earthquake occurred lasting a record time of 5 minutes until 2:53pm. This awful event occurred in the country of Japan in Asia, east of china, south of Russia and lies on the Pacific Ocean. Then 20 minutes later a tsunami hit Ofunato and then followed by Sedai and Niyko. There were lots more area affected by the tsunami.


The tsunami that hit Japan was a series of water that became many waves that built up by travelling along the Pacific Ocean, gradually gathering up speed. By the time it hit Ofunato it was as fast as a jet engine and going 800 kph. This tsunami happened because of the pacific tectonic plate subducted the Asian tectonic plate and caused an upwards wave to start and increase in length and it caused a massive tsunami to hit Japan. Japan had a massive tsunami hit them because of the magnitude 9 earthquake (a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves) that hit them first, which caused the pacific tectonic plate subducted the Asian tectonic plate and created a flood of water to go in to the fault line and cause it to build up pressure and heat up. Then the water sprung up in to a travelling along the Pacific Ocean causing a tsunami, this caused over 15,000 deaths, 6,000 injured and 4,000 missing. Another cause of the tragic tsunami was that it gained an extra metre in height because the coast line dropped a metre; this was one of the effects of the earthquake.

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Social effects

The effects on people were that there houses had fallen down and many were homeless. The disaster caused falling birth rates, some mothers and children were forced to move to other towns and cities, even 200-300 miles away from their broken homes. Buildings were shaking, lights flickering; they crumbled down in front of the people inside them. Bridges were in pieces, shaken and broken by the earthquake and tsunami. The people in Japan were in a horror film. Their families were broken, torn apart by 7 metre high waves. At least 170,000 households were running without any water said by the health ministry. Up to 47,000 building were destroyed, washed away or burnt down, the national police agency of Japan said. A total of 164,059 households in the north were without electricity, tohoku electric power co said.

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Economic effects

The tsunami caused a large negative impact on the economy of Japan but lesser effect on world trade and financial markets. Japan has lost considerable physical damage estimated to be from $195 billion to as much as $305 billion. The negative effects of the earthquake and tsunami caused a potential nuclear disaster. Only 150 miles from Tokyo, radiation leaked from a nuclear plant crippled by an explosion. Although it wasn’t at the same scale of Chernobyl, but 170,000 people were evacuated. Another economic effect is that hundreds of factories were shut across Japan and the country was pushed in to recession. Nissan and Toyota had to halt production at all 20 factories. Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker, evacuated workers from two plants in the worst affected regions. The plants make up to 420,000 small cars each year, mostly for export.

Environmental effects

The effects the tsunami had on japans environment was that were lots of debris everywhere because the tsunami had picked up everything in its way when it hit Japan and when it had stopped all the debris was left on the ground leaving lots of mess. All the debris that was on the floor meant it was harder to find missing people. The tsunami also carried lots of dead fish and animals habitats would have been damaged because of the water. The fish were all dead in the tsunami due to the fact that the Pacific Ocean contaminated because of the radiation of the nuclear plant explosion. This also meant that any birds wouldn’t have been able to feed or they would have died eating contaminated fish. The smell also would have been unbearable to cope with because of the amount of dead fish and bodies and debris carried by the tsunami. Liquefaction during the earthquake as well, this would have left big cracks in the concert and some water may of septet up through the cracks.

Short term responses

After the tsunami occurred everyone immediately tried to help the injured get to a safe placed so they could be helped. Fire engines and ambulances were there to help and to rescue people from the debris. There were lots of people injured and dead so that when the people were being searched for by people of Japan to save time if a person was dead under the debris they would have put down a flag so they could go on and search for people that were alive and could be saved. Then later they would have gone back to the body and they would have moved it. Everyone hurt by the tsunami/earthquake got medical care by the other helping countries wanting to help. China was one of the 91 countries that helped Japan as soon as possible by providing $4.5 million worth of humanitarian aid.

Their first shipment was from Shanghai to Tokyo. It contained 2,000 blankets, 900 tents and 200 emergency lights to help Japan get through the tragic amount of injured people. Seventeen Latin American countries, including Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil, and four African states – Djibouti, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia had also offered assistance. The mayor of Kandahar city in Afghanistan pledged $50,000 to support relief efforts. The World Bank, Unicef, Unesco and the Office for t he Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs were among the international organisations pledging support. Other responses were that they were lots of tents and shelters put up for people to stay safe because their houses would have been crushed by the tsunami or fall because of the magnitude 9 earthquake. In the shelters, the people got free food and water to keep them alive.

Almost everywhere there was no gas or electricity because of the impact of the tsunami. All they could us were emergency lights and torches to see. Products in Japan went up because lots of stock was ruined or damaged and it was a struggle to get stock from other countries or cities because the expressway fell down and transport-roads were blocked. Some charities also help the tsunami victims such as architecture for humanity helped by fundraising and giving all the money they made to Japan to help the people that were made homeless or that were unemployed because their workplace might have been hit. Save the Children meet the needs of children and their families affected by the tsunami, whilst Christian Aid’s partners in the Philippines helped to evacuate the most vulnerable coastal communities. People living in these communities had been warned to prepare for a tsunami wave at least one metre high along the east coast. Partners of the British Red Cross in Japan, America and the Philippines worked alongside the emergency services to support victims and evacuate high risk areas.

Long term responses

General recovery efforts progressed, super markets gradually reopened, gas stations in northern Japan resumed business, and roads were accessible. The Japanese government significantly supported the country’s relief efforts and provided much of the needed temporary housing. Everything that was rebuilt in Japan however it cost them 25tn yen which actuates to £189bn. Schools were rebuilt and teachers were provided so the children could get an education.


In my opinion, I think that the Japan tsunami was a disaster because of the impact that it caused to the people (such as the deaths), the environment (dead animals, liquefaction, amount of debris needed to be cleaned up) and the amount of money that it cost them. The amount of deaths that the tsunami caused was devastating, the amount of missing people and pain that the tsunami caused families. It was an awful event that caused pain to everyone and cost lots of money. I think to stopped this happening to Japan again they should build a bigger wall on the coast to protect them or even buy tsunami capsules from all households even though they are expensive it would help and save the life’s of many if it occurred again.

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