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Updated: September 20, 2016

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Steps toward Recovery and Restoration: Accelerating Restoration on the Back of Universal Support (March 2011)

We have continued to receive a number of kind offers of assistance both from in Japan and abroad. On the back of such support, we are determined to take steps forward together, in order to regain our hometown, “Sendai, the City of Trees” and to create a city full of hope—one that is more safe and secure than ever before.

Steps toward recovery and restoration (full list) 

<< March 2011 >>April 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Devastating scars of the gigantic tsunami which hit the eastern coastal areas

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Tanatsugi district: Agricultural land filled with debris

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Fujitsuka district: Near Yuriageoohashi

Fujitsuka district: A tide-water control forest which looks like a comb with missing teeth

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Ido district: Fallen street lights and pine trees which were washed away

Ido district: Debris which covered the paddy fields

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Near Arahama Elementary School

Arahama district: The Teizan Canal with the ocean on the left

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Arahama district: Sea water and sludge piled up as the bottom of the paddy fields were gouged out

Shinhama district: A disaster-affected convenience store

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Nakano Elementary School

Gamo district: A disaster-affected cold storage warehouse

Monday, March 14 to Thursday, March 31, 2011

People continued to live with inconvenience

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As a large number of evacuees, which exceeded expectations, gathered in the gymnasiums of municipal schools used as designated refuge areas, stocks of food, water and blankets ran out.

Places where people found it easier to get together such as privately-owned offices, private schools, local assembly halls, community centers, etc. naturally turned into evacuation centers.

By March 12, the number of evacuees exceeded 100,000, which was equivalent to 10% of the population of the City of Sendai. The number of refuge areas confirmed by the City of Sendai exceeded 300 including the designated refuge areas.

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<People line up for water.>

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A line of people wait for highway buses for Yamagata. Due to the closing of JR Sendai Station and Sendai Airport, many people headed for Tokyo, etc., via Yamagata.

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A long line of cars wait to purchase gasoline. This caused traffic jams all over town and blocked passage of city buses and emergency vehicles. The shortage of gasoline continued until the end of March.

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As most stores could not operate, there were long lines of people in front of supermarkets, etc. which were open even before the opening time.

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Restaurant workers prepare meals outside in Ichibancho.

Disaster-related garbage brought by each household to temporary garbage dumps

 Continued efforts for the recovery of lifelines

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Recovery work on damaged water pipes continued in heavy snow. Most city water was recovered on March 29, 18 days after the disaster.

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Minato plant of the Gas Bureau

Employees of Okasa Gas open the gas valves.

The supply of city gas was discontinued across the entire supply areas due to significant damage sustained by the Minami plant of the Gas Bureau as a result of the tsunami.

The number of recovery team members dispatched by the Japan Gas Association and city gas operators around Japan amounted to approximately 3,700 during the peak period. Excluding some areas which sustained too much damage to conduct recovery work, the gas supply was resumed in the majority of areas by April 16, 36 days after the disaster.

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Although the Subway’s Namboku Line resumed operations between Tomizawa and Dainohara stations on March 14, the service was interrupted due to some damage to the bridge piers and stations between Dainohara and Izumi Chuo stations. As a result of the recovery efforts backed by the support from JR, etc., the operations of the entire line resumed on April 29.

The city bus operated under a special schedule from March 12, the day following the disaster, and resumed normal operations on April 18.

 Circle of support spreads across the nation

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The gas recovery team dispatched by the Japan Gas Association and city gas operators around Japan.

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Support vehicles sent by the City of Yokohama.

The second expedition from Kobe City.

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Transportation of relief supplies by the Self-Defense Forces.

A pile of relief supplies delivered from all over Japan.

Friday, March 18, 2011

One week after the disaster: Aerial view of devastated areas

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A petrochemical complex in the City of Tagajo which is adjacent to the Minato district in Miyagino Ward. A fire broke out and was extinguished on March 15.

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The Gamo district and Nakano district in Miyagino Ward.

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The Okada district in Miyagino Ward.

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Most of the pine trees in the tide-water control forest in the coastal areas were washed away. The Pacific Ocean can be seen on the right.

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The Arahama district in Wakabayashi Ward

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The Ido district in Wakabayashi Ward

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Fujitsuka district in Wakabayashi Ward: Idoura on the right became connected with the Pacific Ocean

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Two days after the disaster

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Evacuees read newspapers posted on the wall of the lobby on the first floor of the City Hall.
The City Hall was inundated with business travelers and those who could not go home. The halls and meeting rooms were made available for these people for a couple of days.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The day after the disaster

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Plants and warehouses concentrated around the Port of Sendai in Miyagino district sustained significant damage due to the tsunami. Seen in the distance is black smoke rising from the petrochemical complex in the City of Tagajo.

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The eastern coastal areas hit by the gigantic tsunami were flooded and a number of children and residents were stranded at Nakano Elementary School and Arahama Elementary School, etc. Strenuous rescue efforts were made by helicopters of the fire department of the City of Sendai and planes of the Self-Defense Forces.

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Evacuees on the roof of Nakano Elementary School.

Near the mouth of Nanakita-gawa River.

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The Mayor rushed to the refuge area.

Flooded eastern areas

Friday, March 11, 2011

A large earthquake occurred at 14:46.

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At 14:46, a significant quake of an unprecedented scale hit East Japan. When the long shaking finally stopped, an announcement was broadcast over the P.A. system in the City Hall to order people to evacuate the building.

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More and more people gathered around the City hall and the civic square of Kotodai Park. Although everyone tried to reach his or her family and company using mobile phones, people had difficulty getting through, which made them more and more anxious.

The gigantic tsunami arrived before 16:00.

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Aerial shot from the helicopter of the Sendai City Fire Department

About one hour after the earthquake, a gigantic tsunami hit the eastern coastal areas of the City of Sendai. The tsunami swallowed up beautiful rural landscapes in no time at all, stealing precious lives.

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Local citizens, children and teachers who evacuated to Arahama Elementary School (Arahama, Wakabayashi Ward), a designated evacuation center, barely escaped the tsunami as they were on the rooftop or in the classrooms on the upper floors of the school building at that time.

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Although the tsunami reached the Minami-Gamo Purification Center (Gamo, Miyagino Ward), all of the 101 people including staff members were safe as they managed to escape to the rooftop of the four-story building.

The first meeting of the Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters was held at 16:00.

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Immediately after the disaster, the Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters was set up with the Mayor as chief of the headquarters at the Aoba Ward Office.
The first meeting of the Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters was held at 16:00.
There were disruptions to power, telephone lines, and the server of the City Hall network, etc., making it extremely difficult to gather information needed to determine the extent of the damage.

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At around 15:50 when aerial footage of the gigantic tsunami engulfing the Fujitsuka area in Wakabayashi Ward was shown on television, members of the Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters were lost for words.

Steps toward recovery and restoration (full list)

<< March 2011 >>April 2011

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