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Japan:March 11 tsunami caused unprecedented fire

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Laaska News  Sept. 15,2011

A survey has found that Japan’s March 11th tsunami triggered at least 130 fires, destroying 5.65 million square meters of the northeastern prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. That’s the worst case on record.

Fires are sparked when fuel from tanks and ships, drifting after the tsunami, are ignited by vehicle batteries or other sources. Once lit, flames spread quickly as tsunami debris hinders fire-fighters.

Fire departments from the 3 prefectures told NHK that of the 131 fires reported, 100 were in Miyagi, 22 in Iwate and 9 in Fukushima.

The largest damaged area was some 3.14 million square meters in Otsuchi Town, Iwate, followed by about 2.45 million square meters in Kesennuma City, Miyagi.

A total area of around 5.65 million square meters was reported to have burnt in 4 cities and towns.

Similar fires occurred when major earthquakes hit the central prefecture of Niigata in 1964 and the northern prefecture of Hokkaido in 1993. Over 50,000 square meters was consumed by fire in each event.

But the March 11th earthquake and tsunami destroyed an area about 100 times larger, making it the worst on record.

The figure is likely to rise as the fire departments continue their survey.
NHK
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