On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a powerful tsunami that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres, travelling up to 10 kilometres inland, causing massive devastation. Three years later, the Japanese government puts the number of dead at 15,884, with 2,636 still missing.
To mark the third anniversary,
IBTimesUK publishes 30 powerful photos that tell the story of the disaster. March 11, 2011: Natural gas storage tanks burn at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city, Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, after a huge earthquake Reuters March 11, 2011: The wave from a tsunami crashes over a street in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck the area Reuters March 11, 2011: Burning houses are swept out to sea following a tsunami and earthquake in Natori City Reuters March 11, 2011: A massive tsunami engulfs a residential area in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture Reuters March 11, 2011: Toya Chiba, a reporter for local newspaper Iwate Tokai Shimbun, is swept away by a tsunami at Kamaishi port, Iwate prefecture. Chiba managed to survive by grabbing a dangling rope and climbing onto a coal heap around eight metres high after being swept away for about 30 metres Reuters March 11, 2011: Sendai Airport is flooded after a tsunami swept away everything in its path Reuters March 11, 2011: Cars and planes swept away by a tsunami are pictured among debris at Sendai Airport Reuters March 12, 2011: Buildings tossed together by the tsunami are seen in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan Reuters March 12, 2011: Burned-out cars are pictured at Hitachi Harbour in Ibaraki Prefecture in northeastern Japan Reuters March 12, 2011: People in a floating container are rescued from a building following an earthquake and tsunami in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan Reuters March 12, 2011: A picture taken from a Japan Ground Self-Defence Force helicopter shows the town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, a day after it was flattened by massive tsunami Reuters March 12, 2011: The wreckage of a train destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami is seen near the coastal town of Sendai Reuters March 13, 2011: A woman looks at the damage caused by a tsunami and an earthquake in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture Reuters March 13, 2011: A woman cries while sitting on a road amid the destroyed city of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture Reuters March 13, 2011: A home is seen adrift in the Pacific Ocean Reuters March 13, 2011: Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who are from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant Reuters March 13, 2011: Someone walks past an overturned squid-fishing boat tossed onto land by a tsunami in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture Reuters March 13, 2011: Sixty-year-old survivor Hiromitsu Shinkawa, who was swept out to sea by a tsunami, is rescued by crew members of a Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force vessel, about 15km off the coast of Fukushima Reuters March 14, 2011: Rescue workers search for victims in Nodamura village, Iwate Prefecture Reuters March 14, 2011: A Japan Self-Defence Forces officer smiles as he holds a four-month-old baby girl who was rescued along with her family members from their home in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture Reuters March 14, 2011: A survivor pushes his bicycle through remains of devastated town of Otsuchi, where 12,000 out of a population of 15,000 disappeared Reuters March 14, 2011: A girl who who was isolated at a makeshift facility to screen people with high radiation levels looks at her dog through a window in Nihonmatsu Reuters March 14, 2011: Officers look at a Mitsubishi F-2 fighter aircraft of the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force which was swept by the tsunami into a building at Matsushima base in Higashimatsushima, Iwate Prefecture Reuters March 17, 2011: A man cries next to his destroyed house where his dead mother is still buried in the rubble in Onagawa town in Miyagi Prefecture Reuters March 19, 2011: Emergency workers search through debris near the seaside in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture Reuters March 21, 2011: A train carriage lies in a heavily damaged cemetery in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture Reuters March 24, 2011: An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Reuters March 31, 2011: A woman rides her bicycle past a boat in the rubble in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, 20 days after the area was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami Reuters April 3, 2011: The Hamayuri, a catamaran sightseeing boat, sits atop a two-storey building among tsunami debris in Ostuchi, Iwate Prefecture Getty April 11, 2011: A car is driven past a ship named Asia Symphony that was swept ashore by the March 2011 tsunami at a fishing port in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture Reuters