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Mar 31 2012

NHK Special - The Battle at Minamisanriku Town Hall - The Long Road to Recovery

Written by Nippon Sekai   
Saturday, 31 March 2012
This documentary covers the struggles that surviving officials of Minamisanriku face in rebuilding their heavily devastated town.

The majority of buildings and homes in the lower areas of the Shizugawa district were completely destroyed by the tsunami. Furthermore, the earthquake itself caused the land in the area to drop by around 70cm; as a result, the area gets flooded during high tide. In late 2011, officials came to a decision that they would be abandoning the low lying areas and rebuilding on higher ground. That endeavor will not be easy because the mountainous areas will need to go through costly grading to make it suitable for building on. In the mean time though, they are struggling to keep their community together; a difficult proposition with reconstruction a long way off.

Previously unreleased material is also shown in this program, including one of the final photographs of the 30 town officiais who had taken refuge on the top of the 3 story high, disaster prevention building. These officials were carrying out their duties until the very last moments before the tsunami hit. The photo shows the tsunami already coming over the top of the building while everyone huddled around the antenna mast, holding on to each other. The tsunami itself reached over 12+ meters (40+ feet), flooding through the 4th floor of the nearby hospital. Town mayor Jin Sato, was one of the 10 who managed to survive by clinging on to the antenna mast.

This documentary is in Japanese (english dubbed/subbed version has not been created yet) and is split into two segments (part 1 is 37 minutes and part 2 is 35 minutes).


Update: the following is an English dubbed version without the commentary segments with NHK's navigator (which is why the total length is just 50 minutes) entitled March to Recovery - To a Higher Place - One Town's Search For A Safe Haven

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