Friday, 2 March 2012

What are the secondary impacts of the Japan earthquake?

By Carl Everett

One secondary effect from the Japan earthquake of 11th March 2011 is that debris ended up being washed up on the beaches of other countries. With a limited number of resources to help clean up the earthquake-hit regions, much debris remained scattered around the coastal areas and further inland. As a result, some of the debris that was left along the Japan coastline had been transported, by ocean currents, to areas across the world, such as Tofino, a town on Vancouver Island. Local residents from Tofino had seen Japanese water bottles being washed up on the town’s beaches on 28th December 2011, over nine months after the earthquake disaster. Other items washed up on the beaches included socks and toothbrushes, as well as lumber with Japanese export stamps on it.

Some of the debris washed up on the beaches of Tofino, Vancouver Island.
Another secondary effect from the Japan earthquake was that dangerously high levels of radiation had been recorded in the water at one of the reactors of the earthquake-hit Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The tsunami, which occurred as a result of the earthquake, damaged power supply cables, disabling the power supply and resulting in the cooling of the three reactors. Many weeks had passed of focused work to restore power to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, enabling heat to be removed from the reactors.

The earthquake also had a huge effect in the business industry, with first-quarter profits in 2011 falling slightly of market expectations for the firm Coca-Cola. The United States’ drinks firm made £1.15bn in the first three months of 2011, up by 18% from 2010. However, earnings were still 1% lower than expected because of lost revenue from Japan, where sales suffered as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. With many buildings damaged or flooded by the tsunami, shops were closed and customers couldn’t buy products, such as coca-cola products.

Furthermore, aftershocks from the earthquake were also a secondary effect. On Thursday 7th April 2011, a reported 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck north-east Japan. Several buildings were damaged, power was cut to 3.6million homes and three people lost their lives. It was the most powerful aftershock since the earthquake on 11th March 2011.

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