Pollution
Humain
Environnement
Economique

A major earthquake (Mw = 9) hits the port of Ishinomaki at 14 h 46, followed at 15 h 26 by a giant tsunami (waves of 8.5 m) engulfing a seafood processing and freezing plant under 2 to 7 m of sea water. The plant manager, understanding that the exceptional intensity of the earthquake will produce a giant tsunami, orders the general evacuation through the loudspeakers network connecting the two company sites. On the second site located on the other bank of the estuary dividing the port, the five employees are reluctant to evacuate on foot and decide to evacuate by car. They find themselves trapped in a traffic jam on the bridge over the estuary and are washed away by the first train of waves, only one passenger survived. The rest of the employees retreated in good order on the hill behind the site or on the roof of the highest administrative buiding. They have to expect relief for 3 days with the other port survivors, among them the employees who fled to the roof during the first night. Over 85 % of the factory buildings are destroyed, most of the equipment and machinery are severely damaged by the tsunami and debris from vehicles or boats. Cleaning and repair begin 3 weeks later and 4 monts later the plant can partially restart, but 65 % of the working staff is laid off. Production losses and damages are estimated at 25 millions of Euros (2011). The subsidence of 80 cm turns the plant flooded at high tides and the town authority plans to relocate the plant on higher ground. Many fish and seafood processing plants are seriously damaged in the port of Ishinomaki, and in other fishing ports of the Tohoku region : Ofunato, Kesen-numa, Otsuchi, Onahama.