Hokkaido Earthquake One Year On


Hokkaido earthquake one year on

People in the northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido are marking one year since a powerful earthquake shook their island. And the area is still recovering. Forty-four people died and 785 were injured as a result of the quake.

On September 6 last year, the magnitude 6.7 quake struck the western part of Hokkaido early in the morning.

Throughout the prefecture, buildings collapsed and roads cracked and buckled.

Mountainous areas gave way to landslides, wiping out homes.

The tremors also left everyone in the dark.

Those living in the hardest hit areas have spent the year rebuilding their towns and their lives.

Cameraman Atsushi Tateoka from NHK's bureau in Hokkaido flew over the area to see what progress they've made.

Here's his report:

"We're flying over the town of Atsuma near the epicenter. The quake triggered multiple landslides and buried many homes here. We can still see the wreckage of some of those homes.

On the hillsides, workers are laying concrete to prevent a repeat of the landslides. As you can see, that's still a work in progress. They're expecting to finish next spring.

Here's what the Takaoka district looked like last year. The rice paddies were swamped with mud from the landslides.

Today, a lot of the mud has been cleared. But we're just entering harvest season, and some of the fields are still bare.

This water purification plant sustained heavy damage last year. It's still not back online.

Workers are busy removing the soil surrounding it. Officials are hoping they can get the plant running again next summer.

In the city of Sapporo the quake caused devastating liquefaction. That's when loose, wet soil turns into quicksand-like mud. One year on, some of the buildings are still tilted.

So people have been making steady progress dealing with the effects of last year's quake, but there's still a way to go."