Monday, 19 August 2013

Returning to Rikuzen Takata

We took a maaaaaaaaaaaaaaajor detour on the way back, leaving the expressway at the Kamaishi turn off and ventured to the coast.  In hindsight we probably should have gone to Kamaishi and gone south, but I wanted to take a look at Rikuzen Takata and go to the coast on the road that I took in the week that I was volunteering up there. (There is a long series of posts about that here. )

I might be being unfair, since we only cruised through, but I didn't feel any hope or vibrancy.  It seems the town has  made a decision to raise the height of the land and rebuilt the city centre.  According to the city mayor, the city will have a 12 meter sea wall.  It seems like madness.  The beauty of the area is nature.  It seems far more prudent to rebuild the town behind the hills and having clear, well thought out evacuation paths for the businesses that want to be or need to be along the coast.
A positive RT story:
Area flattened by the tsunami
This apartment building was one of two buildings remaining standing.
Constuction in progress
A few ruins remain
Looking out to the bay
Looking inland
No entry -  it appears that the height of the land is being raised by a  number of metres.
Obvious signs of  revitalization were very few and far between.


Rurousha said...

The 2013 tsunami was 40 meters high! What difference will a 12-meter wall make?

I can't resolve my own conflicting emotions about this.

It's madness to rebuild in the same spot, but I do realize that these are fishing communities. However, can't they build the town itself higher up (with homes, schools and hospitals) and only sea-related businesses on the coast?

Then again, who will remember, two centuries from now, when the next big one arrives?

Cecilia said...

However, can't they build the town itself higher up (with homes, schools and hospitals) and only sea-related businesses on the coast?
It would make a lot of sense - lack of suitable land is a big problem - oldies can't climb the hills well and they're often not suited for vege patches.

They're planting a sakura line at Rikuzen Takata - I didn't see where it was though - that marks the high water line of the tsunami.

The tsunami wasn't really 40 m high, it was, but AFAIK that's where it was funnelled by narrowing rivers / inlets and not the "normal" height for most places. In the bays, like RT you can see the high water mark came up to the fourth floor (in the Japanese and American sense of floor numbering) 14 m? or so? its's still very high.

Sometimes I wonder if they should be looking at group homes and communal gardens for the oldies, keeping community ties intact as far as possible. I guess it depends on what the people want. At the rate that much of the countryside is depopulating, you'd wonder if there'll be anyone much left when the next tsunami comes...

Lilian said...

Hmmm, still too many emotions for writing an appropriate comment but thanks for sharing the pictures...

Cecilia said...

It's pretty stark, and I'm not sure that my pictures represent fairly what is happening, but I thought you'd be interested.