Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Tsunamis and terrorism - two anniversaries

Today sees the third anniversary of the Japanese tsunami of 2011 which killed at least 15,880 people. More than 2,600 remain unaccounted for, while 267,000 are still living in temporary accommodation.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake that triggered the tsunami caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and medical authorities in the region are reporting a big increase in thyroid cancer in children and young adults.

The number of suspected or confirmed cases among those under 18 at the time of the disaster has reached 75, compared with 59 at the end of September. There is disagreement over whether the increase is a result of the accident or just of more widespread screening.

Today also sees the 10th anniversary of the Madrid train bombings of 2004. Ten explosions ripped through 4 commuter trains, killing 191 people, and injuring another 1,800. Seven of the alleged plotters blew themselves up in a flat surrounded by police three weeks later, though arguments continue about who was responsible for the attack.

* A sneak preview of my book Flood: Nature and Culture on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkC-V685Bms

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