In March 2011, I sat on the edge of my chair, paralysed by the footage pouring into the media of the destruction caused by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The clip above — a video that only recently emerged — illustrates the disaster as it developed.

  • 1:50 – Small wave appears on the surface of the river; note the water level has dramatically reduced and sirens begin to wail.
  • 3:20 – The wave picks up force, ripping at the edges of the bank and destroying moored boats.
  • 4:10 – The wave hits a small bridge.
  • 6:20 – The power of the water picks up very quickly, and you begin to see a lot of debris.
  • 7:40 – The person filming has now retreated to higher ground and witnesses the banks of the river burst and water flood a playground where he/she was standing a minute before.
  • 8:20 – A bridge disappears.
  • 10:55 – Debris, cars, and houses storm past, and the playground is completely flooded.
  • 18:55 – The water calms, leaving its wake clearly visible.
  • 22:43 – Looks like a scene from Apocalypse Now.