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- Eleven months after the tsunami and earthquake ravaged Japan new pictures show the incredible progress being made in the multi-billion pound clear up (Mail Online)
What a comeback! Eleven months after the tsunami ravaged Japan, a series of pictures reveals the incredible progress being made to clear up the devastation
By David Baker
UPDATED: 10:35 GMT, 13 February 2012
When Japan was hit by both an earthquake and tsunami in quick succession in March last year, the images of devastation gripped the world.
And now after 11 months of tireless rebuilding, these pictures reveal the amazing progress made since those tragic events.
Photographers returned to the scenes of desolation to take these stunning shots that capture the way in which the areas most severely affected have changed.
One picture shows Yuko Sugimoto standing with her five-year-old son Raito and the newly cleared main road in Ishinomak.
The housewife had been photographed in the midst of the chaos last year wrapped in a blanket as she frantically searched for him in the debris.
She was one of thousands of people left desperately searching through all the rubble as the disaster claimed the lives of more than 19,000 and left thousands more missing.
The pictures illustrate how, in some cases, homes had to be pulled down as part of the rebuild, whilst in other areas piles of cars, rubbish and even planes and boats needed to be hauled away.
Further south, the tsunami also touched off a nuclear crisis when it slammed into the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, forcing about 100,000 people to flee their homes.
Disposing of all the debris – an estimated 23 million tons – was a huge headache but authorities have been working tirelessly to clean up the mess left by the chaos.
The Japanese cabinet had to approve almost $50billion worth of spending on post-earthquake reconstruction – the country’s biggest building project since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.
The emergency budget was followed by more spending packages and is still dwarfed by the overall cost of damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, estimated at more than $300 billion.
The earthquake destroyed tens of thousands of homes and smashed a nuclear power plant which began leaking radiation, a situation the plant is still managing.