Stories of Earthquake Survival: Part 6

Just a few years ago, in March of 2011, Japan was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake—with the epicenter 70 km east of Tohoku, in the ocean. It was the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan, and it was the fourth most powerful earthquake recorded since 1900 in world history, .

The quake lasted 6 minutes and left Japan in the biggest crisis since the end of World War II. Death reports numbered over 15,894 with more than 6,162 people injured and more than 2,562 people missing. As well, 228,863 people were living away from home in temporary housing or as a result of permanent relocation. 4.4 million households were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water, not to mention the pending nuclear dangers.

More than 5 years later, Japan is still in the process of recovering and rebuilding. But as we continue to realize the extent and enormous scale of this catastrophe, we also discover that some people experienced miracles among the disaster.

One of the most famous survival stories in Tohoku was of a man who was rescued after being swept 10 miles out to sea on what used to be the roof of his house. He was out there for 2 days before he was spotted by a rescue ship, while waving a red flag that he’d made.

In some neighbourhoods, families had just enough warning to pack up their children in the car and speed away to higher ground. Their lives were saved by a minute or two of time.

Some other people returned home after the quake to find that their beloved family pets had managed to escape and find shelter in upstairs rooms.

In the wake of such tragedy, sometimes stories of survival like this might be the only way to hold onto some kind of hope. Our hearts go out to everyone who lost loved ones or experienced the disaster of Japan’s 2011 earthquake.

-Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for

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