What Happened in Onagawa

Every once in a while I still come across a photo or video clip that takes my breath away my breath.  This is a video I had not seen before of the tsunami hitting Onagawa, a small, quaint fishing town just north of Ishinomaki along the coast.  Several posts ago I put a photo on my blog (here) of a condominium that had been toppled on its side by the tsunami.  I read that these huge concrete buildings were toppled over because of the combined effects of the 9.0 earthquake first, and then the tsunami that followed.  There were nothing else around it.  The town really is gone.  From this video, you can see what actually happened — how a town full of banks, homes, grocery stores, parks, cars, schools, children, seniors, hospitals…. — could be wiped away. Partway into the video, the cameraman exclaims that the waves are ten meters high.  In reality, they later estimated that the tsunami waters reached 17 meters – about 55 feet, or almost six stories.

There are some amazing before and after Google photos on Danny Cho’s website of both Onagawa and Ishinomaki.  I won’t repost his photos – but its worth seeing… He makes a good point for the usefulness of Goggle Earth- it really does allow us to see what used to be.


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