On May 11, 2011, the earthquake of magnitude 9.0, the biggest earthquake in the history of Japan and the fourth biggest earthquake in the world after year 1900, shocked the Tohoku area of Japan. In about 30 minutes, devastating tsunami reached, affecting the coastline with a length of 500 km (310 miles). The tsunami wave height of 39 meters (128 feet) was recorded in a port town in Tohoku. The tsunami swallowed villages along the coast and washed away all houses. The earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,800 people, and still more than 3,500 people are missing.
Survivors in Baba district in Minamisanriku, Miyagi, eat together in a shelter on the hill in one month after the earthquake and tsunami. Only three houses out of 46 houses in this village were saved from the tsunami. 220 people took a refugee in the shelter. The village was totally isolated and left without water, gas and electricity for a week after the tsunami. "Men collected fuels from all cars for stoves. We looked for floating rice and vegetables on the beach," Ms. Kikumi Abe, 60, center in purple shirt, said. "It was really horrible, but all of us got together and managed to survive together for a week until the first relief supplies arrived from the government and volunteers."