5 Years Since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

Five years ago a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Japan’s northeastern shore—the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan—generating enormous tsunami waves that spread across miles of shoreline, climbing as high as 130 feet (40 meters). The powerful inundation of seawater tore apart coastal towns and villages, carrying ships inland as thousands of homes were flattened, then washed tons of debris and vehicles back out to sea. Damage to the reactors at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant then caused a third disaster, contaminating a wide area that still forces nearly 100,000 residents to live as evacuees. The March 11 earthquake and subsequent disasters cost tens of billions of dollars, and nearly 16,000 lives.

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