The anniversary of last year's Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami isn't until March 11, but ABC 7 plastered the Oscars broadcast with ads for a series of reports from Japan this week by reporter David Ono. He gets some good stuff. Monday's story opens in the coastal town of Ofunato, with footage shot by a local resident of the magnitude 9 earthquake and the Pacific rushing in a short time later to wash away most of the town. That story is embedded above. Tonight's installment is from Rikuzentakata, another coastal community left as "a sad swath of land with very little life."
As I drove through Rikuzentakata, I found it astounding that tens of thousands were living there just a year ago.
The tsunami hit this place with remarkable speed and power. The wall of water was 36-feet high. Those who thought their upper floors would keep them safe were wrong. Even designated evacuation shelters failed. Many died in places they were told would be safe.
Rikuzentakata City Hall was used as an evacuation center. Eighty people evacuated to the building, but only 10 survived. Those 10 were on the top floor and said the water went up to their chest.
I came across the Uwabe family, two sisters, along with their children, who lost both their parents when their home was swept away.
The family explained to me that since the disaster struck on March 11, families turn out to mourn and pay tribute on the 11th of every month. It happened to be Feb. 11 on the day I was there.
Here is LA Observed's first post from the night of March 10, 2011, with the initial reports that the quake was an incredible 8.9 and conflicting observations of ocean waves. An hour later, we began to see the tragic video of seawater flowing over Sendai and the Miyagi prefecture.
Selected posting at LA Observed from March 10-13, 2011:
Japan hit by 'great' quake and tsunami, Pacific put on watch
Tsunami alerts in California upgraded
Scenes from Japan
Watch NOAA's animated tsunami graphic *
Crescent City tsunami in time lapse
Japan toll goes over 10,000 dead