Four years after nuclear incident, chilling Fukushima photos show healing is still not complete

In 2008, Polish photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski travelled to Chernobl for the first time to document the aftermath of the Ukranian nuclear disaster. He would return multiple times, filming two documentaies in the process.

With more than 20 years having passed since the Chernobl incident and Podniesinski’s first trip to the site, the tragedy must have seemed like a relic of the past, but then came the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear crisis. More than four years later, access to much of Fukushima is still restricted due to dangerous amounts of radiation, but Podniesinski recently traveled to the affected area and brought back haunting images that drive home how abruptly the end of life as residents knew it came, and how many sings of the devastation still remain.

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Single “Hebel Haus” is the only structure to defy the flooding of Japan’s Angry Demon River

Last week, we discussed the possible etymology of Kinugawa (“Angry Demon River”), which has been the scene of intense flooding in eastern Japan this month. While the overflowing river has devastated the surrounding towns and landscapes in its wake, a single building in Joso City, Ibaraki Prefecture has been gaining particular attention for being the only structure within sight to stand firmly in place in the face of a deluge of muddy water.

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Drones capture shocking footage of flooding in Ibaraki, Japan【Video】

When disaster zones are inaccessible by ground—such as the areas of Japan hit by widespread and deadly flooding last week—news broadcasters typically take to the air, relaying footage from helicopters. In the city of Joso, Ibaraki, news helicopters captured dramatic footage of rescue teams winching people to safety from rooftops on Thursday after the Kinugawa River burst its banks.

But helicopters can only get so close, and so authorities in Japan are now using drones to capture footage in disaster areas. The drones can fly closer to disaster-hit areas than a manned helicopter, offering a different and dramatic perspective.

And drones are not only being used to survey these areas hit by flooding and landslides; they are also starting to be used in rescue missions.

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Taxi driver drove for free during the aftermath of Tianjin explosions, carried evacuees to safety

On August 13, China was shaken by massive explosions which occurred at a port warehouse in Tianjin. The powerful blasts claimed over a hundred lives, left hundreds injured, and the impact affected residents within several kilometers of the port.

Many affected individuals have been trying to evacuate in the aftermath of the disastrous incident, but with parts of the public transportation network affected, things don’t always go as planned. However, some selfless taxi drivers were reportedly picking up passengers from the affected areas and taking them to safety without charging a single cent, drawing a silver lining amidst the dark clouds of smoke rising from the ruins of the explosion.

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Tweet all the things! Japanese vs American reactions to earthquakes

You might have heard that we experienced a magnitude-5.6 earthquake last week, which got everyone in the area a little shaken up (except for this super chill gorilla, of course). While Japan experiences earthquakes incredibly frequently, this one was a little bigger than usual, and had many in Japan diving for cover.

Oh, no, wait, they dived for their smartphones instead…

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Rescued dog becomes rescue dog as Hiroshima stray joins search for survivors in Nepal

In the wake of the massive earthquake that struck central Nepal last week, non-profit organisation Peace Winds Japan sent a small team of six rescuers and two specially trained dogs to help with the search for survivors.

Remarkably, one of the search dogs who was dispatched to Kathmandu is himself a former rescue: Yumenosuke, a stray dog saved from euthanasia in Hiroshima.

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Don’t forget: Yahoo! Japan to make disaster relief donation for every person who searches for “3.11” today

Four years on, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that befell Japan’s Tohoku region on March 11, 2011 have very little effect on the day-to-day lives of most people in the country. The rolling blackouts have stopped. Batteries and bottled water are once again readily available. Trains are running, and whole cities aren’t spending hours walking home from work or school.

But while a return to normalcy is a desirable, and ultimately necessary, part of recovery, it’s also important to remember what happened. To stem the forgetfulness that often accompanies the later stages of coping with tragedy, on March 11 Yahoo! Japan will be making a donation to the Tohoku recovery efforts for every person that searches for “3.11” through the company’s search engine.

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Japan Ministry of Defense develops tiny, grenade-shaped remote surveillance robot

The Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Technical Research & Development Institute (TRDI) appears to be nearing completion of the Throwable Type Reconnaissance Robot. It’s a little black orb about 50 percent bigger than a softball that Self-Defense Force members can simply toss into environments otherwise hazardous to humans and have a look around before taking action. It looks kind of awesome.

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Japanese politicians propose officially designating March 11 as Great East Japan Disaster Day

This coming spring will mark four years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. While that’s not nearly long enough for the those who experienced the tragedy first-hand to forget about the destruction, sadness, and fear, some politicians are concerned that in time memories will fade, which is why a bill is being introduced in the Japanese Diet to establish March 11 as an official day of remembrance of the disaster.

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New Japanese battery only needs water to power up smartphones in a disaster

Sitting on several fault lines, Japan is no stranger to natural disasters and the havoc that ensues afterward. While these tragedies can’t be prevented, their effects can be lessened by making a disaster preparedness kit to handle several days without power or access to food and water.

A key item in these kits is usually batteries, and a Japanese company’s recent announcement about a new kind of battery is expected to completely change the way we prepare for disasters. Only needing to be filled with water, the “Mg Box” battery can be used to charge smartphones, and the invention has made the Japanese company’s stock skyrocket as investors rush to back the game-changing technology.

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South Korean ferry disaster to be turned into low-budget documentary next year

After a tragedy like the April 16 sinking of the South Korean ferry Sewol, many are left wondering how to appropriately commemorate the lives lost without forgetting the awful truth of the actual incident. Last week a South Korean newspaper revealed that a two-hour documentary about the accident is being planned to be released next year to coincide with the one-year anniversary. The film’s backers are relying solely on donations and are seeking just 400 million won (US$392,000) to finance the low-budget project. And with the entire country paying extremely close attention to every tragic detail to come out of the investigations surrounding the accident, this film is destined to be an instant hit in Korean movie theaters.

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South Korean TV accused of faking footage of Sewol rescue diver

Further controversy has emerged surrounding the South Korean Sewol ferry disaster, as a TV crew is accused of setting up footage of a rescue diver. Korean media reports that a member of the rescue team who was not working at the time was put in a wetsuit and drenched in water to give the appearance that he had just come back from a dive. Media crews apparently said that a dry-haired diver would not be realistic and believable enough.

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Pearl River Delta confirms recent risk ranking with severe hail storm

No sooner was it announced the third most at-risk area for natural disasters in the world than the Pearl River Delta in China was hit by extremely severe rain storms with giant hail and damaging winds. The region, which is composed of several major urban centers has experienced flooded subways stations, canceled flights, and destroyed shopping centers due to heavy downpours.

Some of these scenes have been recorded and shared online in video form.

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10-year-old letter arrives from daughter lost to tsunami (you might need tissues for this)

‘I wonder if you’ll have a grandchild when you get this letter?’  These are the words written by a woman 10 years ago, before she lost her life in the March 2011 tsunami. Her mother and father were shocked to find the letter containing them arrive in the mail this January. While there was no Hollywood movie ending where their beloved daughter turned up alive and well, the letter has at least given them a chance to hear some of the things she never had the chance to tell them in life.

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Inmate of Tohoku prison within nuclear evacuation zone sues TEPCO for emotional distress

It’s been three years since the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster swallowed up whole cities and caused one of the worst nuclear power disasters in history. For much of the world the devastating event is a distant memory – except for people in California who, for some reason, to this day think swimming in the ocean is going to give them three eyes or four boobs or something.

But for many living near the crippled Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant, like the inmates at a Kagoshima City prison located within the nuclear evacuation zone, the Tohoku earthquake and the persistent effects of the subsequent nuclear disaster altered their lives forever; so says a former inmate who is formally suing TEPCO for emotional distress.

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We travel to Ormoc City, Philippines to talk to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan

Super Typhoon Haiyan left a trail of destruction as it made its way across the island nation of the Philippines on November 13, 2013. In the wake of the disaster, one of our reporters traveled to the Philippine island of Leyte to talk to the victims of this massive storm and give a firsthand description of the damage. Please enjoy his humble account of the situation in Ormoc City, Philippines.

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“King of psychics” Ron Bard warns of terrible danger for Japan

US psychic Ron Bard has spoken out once again via his official Twitter account, warning that the world – specifically Japan – is in great peril, prompting chatter online. This new warning comes after Mr. Bard claimed back in mid-July this year to have foreseen a natural disaster that would occur in Japan “in the next two or three months”, urging people in Japan to follow him on Twitter and prepare for difficult times.

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Appalling string of thefts targets religious offerings in tsunami-damaged town

Living in Japan, it’s easy to take safety and honesty for granted. This is, after all, the country where public trains make ideal spots for a nap.

That said, with over 150 million people in the country, you’re bound to have a few bad apples, such as the lowlifes who’ve decided there’s no better place for a crime spree than the town of Yamamoto, which was hit hard by the massive earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

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Japanese company creates emergency alert system vending machines

Ah, Japan. Land of the world’s best vending machines. It’s hard to go anywhere in the country without finding one, including the summit of Mount Fuji. With over five million scattered around the country, someone should put those hunks of metal to work. Three organizations in Japan are doing just that, teaming up to turn the machines into a lifesaving tool in the event of a disaster, and we aren’t talking about the devices giving out free beverages.

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Self-styled ‘King of Psychics’ predicts major disaster for Japan, asks for new Twitter followers

Japan’s Twitterverse is abuzz with the news that US-born psychic Ron Bard has predicted a huge natural disaster in Japan with major loss of life by the end of 2013. Bard, who calls his work “parapsychological consulting”, is well-known in Japan and counts major players at companies like Sega and Merrill Lynch Japan among his clients.
Bard took to Twitter yesterday with a series of translated messages for his fans in Japan including one that read: “I predicted March 11, but no one believed me. You can save lives this time by retweeting this!”

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