Concert for Japan

‘we must have done some wrong to nature’

On Friday 11 March 2011 at 2.46pm a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit off the east coast of Japan. The Guardian newspaper has described the event as ‘the fourth most powerful in the history of seismology. It knocked the Earth six and a half inches off its axis; it moved Japan four metres closer to America. In the tsunami that followed, more than 18,000 people were killed. At its peak, the water was 40 metres high. Half a million people were driven out of their homes.’

Adding to the heart-breaking devastation caused by the violent tremors and freak waves, a disaster would unfold in slow motion at the Fukushima Daiichi power station standing right on the coastline. As night fell on the day of the quake millions of households were without power but the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) insisted that radiation levels were not abnormal. However, by 15 March three of the four reactors on the site had suffered nuclear meltdowns due to the loss of core cooling, there were three hydrogen explosions and extensive radioactive contamination was emitted into the atmosphere. This was the most severe nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986; 154,000 citizens were evacuated from their homes within a 20km radius of the beleaguered plant.

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