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Japan suffers unimaginable Tsunami Tragedy

After a 10m high tsunami wreaked havoc and total destruction in Japan last Friday, now waves of grief are sweeping through a traumatised nation. Tsunami tragedy As more and more amateur video footage comes to light, no-one could be left in any doubt as to the awesome and unstoppable power of nature: ships were crumpled, cars tossed around like children’s toys and houses were simply washed away. The most shocking pictures perhaps come from the coastal town of Minami Sanriku, where the devastation is absolute. An entire town was wiped off the face of the earth and a reported 10,000 people are unaccounted for. The Japanese Prime Minister, made a passionate speech to the nation, in which he described the tragedy as, ‘the worst crisis to hit Japan in the 65 years since the Second World War’. Even experienced journalists, who have reported from war zones, have been shocked at the scenes of utter destruction caused by the largest ever earthquake (and subsequent tsunami) that Japan has suffered since records began. However, the danger has still not past for the beleaguered people of the east coast, as overnight, a second massive explosion took place at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Thousands of people have been evacuated from an 18-mile exclusion zone around the plant and are being checked for radiation exposure. The Japanese government has been open with information, yet the public is gripped by fear of nuclear meltdown and anxiety over what the future holds. The forces of nature are still at work though, as aftershocks of 6.5 on the Richter scale are being felt in the shattered region with the constant fear of another tsunami. There were over 17,000 British citizens living and working in Japan at the time of the disaster. The country is a very popular destination for English teachers and hundreds of families have been frantically trying in vain to reach their loved ones throughout the weekend as telephone lines and the internet have been disabled in the region. In the aftermath, the rescue operation continues, as hundreds of volunteer workers from around the world have descended upon Japan. But it is thought that there is little chance of finding survivors in the rubble, as thousands of bodies are being discovered along the ravaged coastline. As with many human disasters, there is an almost unbelievable survivor’s story that has emerged from the tragedy. Hiromitsu Shinkawa, was found ten miles out to sea. He had survived by clinging on to the roof of his obliterated house for 48 hours before being rescued by a Japanese navy rescue boat.

WORDS THAT MEAN OR DESCRIBE ‘destruction’

Crumple, devastation, obliterated, ravaged, shattered To be wiped off the face of the earth, to be washed away, to wreak havoc, to be tossed around like toys

GLOSSARY

Waves of grief
sad feelings caused by death
Traumatised
suffering from shock because of a horrible experience that lasts a long time
To come to light
become known/appear
Awesome
(here) extremely scary
Absolute
(here) complete/total
To be unaccounted for
lost
Utter
complete/total
Subsequent
following
Beleaguered
having lots of difficulties
To be evacuated
to be removed from an area of danger
Nuclear meltdown
an accident in a nuclear reactor that leads to radiation escaping into the atmosphere
Post-quake
after the earthquake
Forces of nature
the power of the natural world
Frantically
desperately doing sth with fear and anxiety
Trying in vain
without success
Loved ones
close family and friends
To be disabled
to put out of action, so as sth cannot be used
Aftermath
the consequences/results of an unpleasant event… commonly used for disasters/tragedies
To descend upon
to come to an area from all sides in great numbers
To emerge from
to become known
To cling on to sth
to hold on tightly to sth

If you want to know what aftershock, rubble or Richter scale mean, then read the glossary in this blog.

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