After the wall of a house collapsed in Kunimi town, north of Fukushima city, northeastern Japan, on February 14.

One month before the commemorations of the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear disaster of Fukushima which devastated on March 11, 2011 the northeast of Japan, the same region suffered, on the evening of Saturday February 13, a violent earthquake of magnitude 7.3, which would be a replica of that of ten years ago. The tremors left, according to a report from the morning of February 14, 104 injured and material damage. Evacuation centers were opened, welcoming worried residents, who were at the same time invited to respect the rules of distancing in the face of the risk of contamination with Covid-19.

The drama rekindled the painful memory of the 2011 disaster that left more than 18,500 dead and missing. “The memory of ten years ago suddenly came back to me. It’s horrible. I am scared “, testified at the microphone of the NHK an elderly woman refugee in a gymnasium of Yamamoto, in the department of Miyagi (North-East). “Ten years later, we were starting to recover from the drama, and here we are, it starts again”, lamented a restaurant manager from the neighboring department of Fukushima, interviewed in her damaged establishment.

On social networks, messages evoking the drama of 2011 have poured in. “As soon as I saw that the earthquake hit Fukushima, the images from ten years ago came back to me. I feel bad “, writes a certain Haku. Kiku admitted, for his part, “Not being able to sleep” and “Relive what happened at the time”.

Read also Japan: more than 1,800 dead and missing, a major nuclear accident

Felt throughout the north and east including Tokyo

At the Iwaki City Library, Fukushima Prefecture (Japan), February 14.

This time, the earthquake did not cause a tsunami. It was felt throughout northern and eastern Japan, including Tokyo. However, it was most violent in the coastal areas of Fukushima and Miyagi, where the authorities recorded in several places a level 6 + on the Japanese scale of intensity of the tremors, graduated from 0 to 7. In the event of of intensity 6 +, “It is impossible to stand up” and “Buildings can collapse”, explains the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA). Earthquakes of similar intensity had caused great damage in 2016 in the department of Kumamoto (South-West), in Niigata (North) in 2011, and killed more than 6,000 in 1995 in Kobe.

The government immediately dispatched an assistance team to the scene and the Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, chaired an emergency meeting of the ministers concerned in the morning. Shortly after the earthquake, Mr. Suga promised to “Do everything, while prioritizing the safety of everyone”.

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