By Pallavi Gupta:
Japan posed for a minute silence on 11th March, 2012 at 2:46 pm, the time at which the triple disaster had struck the nation last year.
The scale of the disaster was massive, causing extensive and severe structural damage; entire communities were reduced to matchsticks by the monolithic force of the tsunami. Homes and businesses that used to lie along the coastline simply no longer exist. The number of people who lost their lives in this disaster is estimated to be about 20,000. But even those families, who were fortunate enough to survive, face adverse challenges. People are homeless and penniless. It is approximated that more than 300,000 people were displaced by this catastrophe.
Japan is pressing ahead with reconstruction efforts but faces enormous challenges. A huge budget has been passed by Government for reconstruction and disaster relief. A major constraint for the Government is the enormity of the disaster and the rebuilding task. The local authorities have started their reconstruction plan and have provided with pre-fabricated houses to victims who lost their homes in the disaster.
The nuclear crisis of the Fukushima Power Plant continues in Tokyo Electric Power Company (TELCO). Radioactive substances are still being detected far away from accident site, indicating continued leaks. In response, for nuclear safety, Government of Japan has conducted tests on all nuclear plants in the country. Officials and experts have worked to ensure the long-term safety of humans and the environment.
The Government faces the threat of crippled nuclear reactors radiations to which Fukushima Power Plant is exposed. The authorities continuously monitor the radiation level of the plant for the safety of its people. Radioactive debris and soil have been removed from the affected areas and measures have been taken to detect traces of radioactive substances in the soil. These post-disaster nuclear safety measures continue till date.
The world has watched with admiration the Japanese people’s discipline and resilience in coping up with the aftermath. The economy looks set to return to pre-disaster levels with the help of about $230 billion used as rebuilding funds. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said, “Our goal is not simply to reconstruct the Japan that existed before March, 2011 but to build a new Japan”; he expressed hope that the period of difficulties will mark the start of Japan’s full-fledged revitalisation. Plans for Japan’s recovery are in execution; the worst hit areas will stimulate new domestic and overseas investments, drive the restoration of existing industries, create jobs and enhance innovation.
The nation had been hit by a threefold catastrophe (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown) and despite the destruction she has recovered and restored herself to a certain extent. Nearly all debris has been removed, basic utilities have been restored, permanent housing plans have begun to take a shape and major expressways, railways and roads have become operational within this short duration.
Now that a year has passed since the tragedy, there are still many more victims that do remain in the state of limbo. Though Japan is reconstructing itself at a fast pace, the wounds of the disaster would not be healed soon.
Image courtesy: http://worldthissecond.com/japan-tsunami-before-after-three-months-photos