25 März 2011
Heartbreaking: Rikuzentakata today
Rikuzentakata was reported to have been "wiped off the map" by the tsunami following the Tōhoku earthquake. According to the police, every building smaller than three stories high has been completely flooded, with buildings bigger than three stories high being flooded partially, one of the buildings being the city hall, where the water also reached as high as the third floor. The Japan Self-Defense Forces reports between 300 and 400 bodies have been found in the town.
On 14 March, an illustrated BBC report showed a picture of the town, describing it as "almost completely flattened." "It is not clear how many survived." The town's tsunami shelters were designed for a wave of three to four metres in height, but the tsunami of March 2011 created a wave 15 metres high which inundated the designated safe locations. Local officials estimate that 20% to 40% of the town's population is dead. "Rikuzen-Takata effectively no longer exists." Although the town was well prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis and had a 6.5 metre high seawall, it was not enough and more than 80% of 8,000 houses were swept away.
A BBC film dated 20 March reported that the harbour gates of the town failed to shut as the tsunami approached, and that 45 young firemen were swept away while attempting to close them manually. The same film reported that 500 bodies had been recovered in the town, but that 10,000 people were still unaccounted-for out of a population of 26,000.
- Staff Reporter (12 March 2011) "Wiped off the map: The moment apocalyptic tsunami waves drown a sleepy coast town". www.dailymail.co.uk, Retrieved 12 March 2011
- www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/Japanarmysays300-400bodiesfoundinRikuzentakata_Report/Article/ Japan army says 300-400 bodies found in Rikuzentakata: Report
- www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-12729784 Picture 6 of the series
- Tsunami preparation leads citizens into low-lying death traps. www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/tsunami-preparation-leads-citizens-into-low-lying-death-traps/article1943381/
- ShelterBox Response Team operational in Iwate Prefecture News update from charity ShelterBox, 22 March 2011
- The floodgate that didn't work to stop the tsunami. www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12801085