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SPECIAL vol.32 Never underestimate the power and the speed of a tsunami
by vff admin - Sunday, 26 June 2016, 11:06 AM
Never underestimate the power and the speed of a tsunami

We volunteer firefighters are supposed to come on duty on our own initiative in case an earthquake with a Japanese seismic intensity of four and above occurs. When I arrived at the station, approximately 10 out of 20 firefighters had already left for the surrounding area to close the floodgates.
Although one of our assigned tasks was to measure the height of the waves by the levee, I couldn’t get myself to go near the sea. 
We went around the area by a pumper truck calling on the residents to evacuate and then moved to a tourist lodge located on higher ground. Since the area around the tourist lodge was filled with cars of evacuees, we parked the pumper truck at a little lower point from there. The moment we got off the truck, a tsunami rushed toward us. As its speed was too fast, we could do nothing but stare as many people were swept away. 
After I somehow managed to evacuate to a higher level where the wave had not reached, I found that all around the area was completely flooded like the sea. Hearing numerous shouts for help, I desperately rescued people. Our pumper truck was washed away, too. However, fortunately, the truck happened to get caught in a narrow road and blocked the wave like a wall. This ended up saving several people from being swept away.
 A tsunami can easily sweep even cars away. We should never underestimate the power and the speed of a tsunami.

Toru Itami (52 years old)
Owner of chiropractic clinic
Firefighter (Shobuta Number 2 District)

Address at the time of the disaster: Shobutahama area
Current address: Emergency Temporary Housing, Sports Field Number 1