INTERACTIVE: Japan earthquake, then and now

On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m. local time, a magnitude 8.9 earthquake jolted the northeast coastal area of Japan.

The epicenter was in Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku.

But the largest devastation was wrought on Iwate Prefecture, devastated by tsunami waves that reached as high as 40 meters (133 feet).

It would turn out to be the strongest earthquake to hit Japan ever, more powerful than the Great Kanto earthquake that devastated Tokyo in 1923 or more recently, the Great Hanshin earthquake that shook the Kobe area in 1995.

The quake took more than 19,000 lives with total damages estimated at over US$122 billion.

Nearly a year later, a photographer of Agence France Presse (AFP) went back to the scenes where the original pictures of the quake were taken by AFP. Here, in an interactive format, is how the area looked like before and after.

before
after
The image taken by a Miyako City official on March 11, 2011 of the tsunami breaching an embankment and flowing into the city of Miyako in Iwate prefecture, and the same area on January 16, 2012. AFP Photos by Jiji Press and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
Debris cover a large tsunami-hit area of Natori, near Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture on March 13, 2011, and the same area on January 12, 2012. AFP Photos by Mike Clarke and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
The damage caused by the tsunami seen from a hill overlooking the city of Kesennuma on March 16, 2011, and the same area on January 14, 2012. AFP Photos by Philippe Lopez and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
A catamaran sightseeing boat washed by the tsunami onto a two-story tourist home in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on April 16, 2011, and the same area with a lone structure left standing on January 16, 2012. AFP Photos by Yasuyoshi Chiba and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
A closer view of the catamaran sightseeing boat washed by the tsunami onto a two-story tourist home in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on April 16, 2011, and the same area on January 16, 2012. AFP Photos by Yasuyoshi Chiba and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
The first picture shows residents evacuating with small boats down a road flooded by the tsunami in the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 12, 2011, and the stretch of road on January 13, 2012. AFP Photos by Jiji Press and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
Residents walk on roads covered with mud and debris in a tsunami-hit area of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 14, 2011, and the same area on January 13, 2012. AFP Photos by Toru Yamanak
before
after
Local residents walk past damaged cars on a street in a tsunami-hit area of Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011, and the same street on January 12, 2012. AFP Photos by Kim Jae-hwan and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
Residents cross a bridge covered with debris in a tsunami-hit area of the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011, and the same area back to normal on January 13, 2012. AFP Photos by Kim Jae-hwan and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
The view of a tsunami-hit street in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011, and the same scene on January 15, 2012. AFP Photos by Toshifumi Kitamura and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
The view of a tsunami-hit street in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011, and on January 15, 2012. AFP Photos by Toshifumi Kitamura and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
A fishing boat lies on the tsunami rubble in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on March 31, 2011, and the same area clean of structures and debris on January 16, 2012. AFP Photos by Toshifumi Kitamura and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
The pavement at a residential community is ruptured by the earthquake in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture on March 11, 2011 and the same area on January 21, 2012 now rebuilt. AFP Photos by Toshifumi Kitamura and Toru Yamanaka
before
after
A photo of Yuko Sugimoto wrapped with a blanket standing in front of debris looking for her son in the tsunami-hit town of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture on March 13, 2011 and the same housewife standing with her five-year-old son Raito at the same place on January 27, 2012. AFP Photos by Yomiuri Shimbun and Toru Yamanaka


Share your views