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.
Mr. Takemi Murakami, 56, in front of a shelter in Rikuzentakata, Iwate, in one month after the earthquake and tsunami. "The wall of water came with huge noise, breaking everything," he said. "It happened so quickly. It took away everything. The baseball stadium is still under the water. Nothing is left. The town, Rikuzentakata, has disappeared." The tsunami killed more than 2200 people, and destroyed more than 3600 houses in Rikuzentakata. He also lost his house, his car, and everything. "There was no time to take anything with me when I escaped. If I looked for something valuable to run away with, I would have been dead," he said. "You know, there is no limit what you want to escape with." He cuts scrap wood made from the earthquake and tsunami to make firewood that is later used to cook food for the displaced people in the shelter. "I keep cutting scrap wood not to think about my future, " he said. "I have no idea what to do."