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海啸启示:别和大自然较劲

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小编摘要:即使我们有对抗海啸的防护堤,也毫无意义。我们最好遵循自然地貌,以避免未来再发生海啸

When Kimiaki Toda was a child, he watched with admiration as his village’s sea wall turned back a tsunami triggered on the other side of the Pacific by the 1960 earthquake in Chile.


Yet, when Mr Toda went back this week to see the same concrete barrier on north-eastern Japan’s Yoshihama Bay, he found little left.


“When the Chile tsunami came 50 years ago, I was a schoolboy in Yoshihama and I looked up at that wall as a success,” says Mr Toda, now mayor of the town of Ofunato of which Yoshihama is a part. “But this time it was completely demolished.”


The collapse of the Yoshihama wall was just one example of the much wider failure of anti-tsunami measures in place along the north-eastern coast of Japan in the face of the ferocious pulse of water sparked by last Friday’s magnitude 9 earthquake. Tsunami victims account for most of the 10,000 reported dead or missing.


Such losses will be deeply troubling for other regions around the world that are vulnerable to tsunamis, because the area is widely seen as having among the strongest sea fortifications and most sophisticated warning and evacuation systems on earth.


Japanese coastal residents have been building anti-tsunami defences at least since the 1850s, when merchant Goryo Hamaguchi paid for the construction of a 600m long, 5m high breakwater in western Wakayama prefecture. This combined a stone and earthen embankment with plantings of pines and spindle trees.

 

海啸

 


In the Sanriku coastal area that was hardest hit by Friday’s disaster, defences have been repeatedly extended and modernised since 1896, when the first Great Sanriku tsunami levelled whole towns and killed about 22,000 people.


Official determination to shield coastal communities was reinforced when a tsunami of a similar size hit in 1933, killing more than 3,000 people around Japan, and in 1960 when the wave triggered by the Chile event left more than 100 dead.


As the first line of defence, communities built sea walls with tsunami gates for river mouths that could be closed when waves approached, as well as offshore breakwaters and raised river dykes.


Equally important was the creation of increasingly automated early warning systems, defined safe areas and the implementation of regular evacuation drills, often held on the anniversaries of the 1896 and 1933 disasters.


That such efforts were unable to prevent the heavy death toll caused by Friday’s quake can be explained in large part by the size and power of the tsunami it created.


Before Friday, there were two stone tsunami memorials in the village of Hongo near Kamaishi town, the tip of each set at the height the water reached in 1896 and 1933.


Based in part on such precedents, villagers felt safe building homes


behind the village’s stout seawall, which residents say was indeed high and strong enough to hold back the first wave of Friday’s tsunami.


However, the waters soon returned, pouring over both the sea wall and the monuments. Such was the force of the flow that a heavy stone marker to the 1933 disaster was knocked down and dragged away.


Around the region some defences – including the Yoshihama sea wall and a barrier built at the mouth of the bay on which Ofunato port is built – failed completely in the face of such fury. Others, such as Ofunato’s final seawall, were simply overwhelmed.


“We have never expected such a big tsunami,” says Mr Toda. “I think no one expected such a big one.”


The mayor, a former construction company manager who has been in office only three months, is already trying to find ways of ensuring that this latest disaster is his town’s last.


Any reconstruction plan should include the realisation that nature cannot be tamed, Mr Toda says.


“Even if we have the protective wall against the tsunami, it is meaningless,” he says. “My idea is that we had better follow the natural geography to avoid future tsunamis.”


In practice, that will mean at the very least limiting reconstruction of homes on the lowest-lying areas – no easy matter given Japan’s high population density, narrow coastal plains and steep hills.


Yet Mr Toda is hardly alone in coming to the conclusion that nature must be accommodated and that the best defence can be avoidance.


After the 2005 hurricane that wrecked much of


New Orleans, there were calls for low-lying areas not to be rebuilt, but instead left as a natural buffer against floods. In the UK, too, opposition has been growing to the use of flood plains for new housing.


From his ringside seat on natural disaster, Mr Toda has no doubt that even the richest and most advanced societies cannot expect to defy geological realities.


“Nature’s power is beyond our expectations [and] beyond our imagination,” he says. “I really felt that this time.”

 

1960年,户田公明(Kimiaki Toda)还是个孩子,当看到自己村子的防波堤挡住了太平洋彼岸的智利地震所引发的海啸时,他的内心充满了敬佩。


然而,当户田公明上周回去看那道位于日本东北部吉浜湾(Yoshihama Bay)的混凝土屏障时,那里已几乎什么都不剩了。


户田公明说:“50年前,当智利海啸袭来时,我还是吉浜的一名学生,当时我认为那道防波堤非常成功。但这次,它被彻底摧毁了。”户田公明如今是大船渡市(Ofunato)市长,吉浜隶属该市。


3月11日,9级地震引发的海啸排山倒海般袭来,日本东北海岸布置的防海啸措施普遍失灵,吉浜防波堤的崩塌仅是其中一例。在迄今统计的1万名遇难或失踪人士中,海啸受害者占大多数。


对世界上其它容易受海啸侵袭的地区而言,这样的损失将引发深切的担忧,因为人们普遍认为,日本东北海岸拥有世界上最牢固的海啸防线与最先进的警报及疏散体系。


日本沿海居民修建抗海啸设施至少可追溯至19世纪50年代,当时,商人滨口梧陵(Goryo Hamaguchi)出资在和歌山县(Wakayama prefecture)西部修建了一条长600米、高5米的防波堤。这道防波堤由石头与泥土筑砌而成,上面种植了松树与丝棉木。


在3月11日灾难中受影响最深的三陆町(Sanriku)沿海地区,防波堤设施自1896年以来多次得到延伸和现代化改造。1896年发生的“明治三陆大津波”夷平了整个城镇,导致约2.2万人丧生。


1933年一场类似规模的海啸,导致日本各地逾3000人丧生;1960年智利地震引发的海啸,也导致日本逾100人丧命,这些事件坚定了官方保护沿海居民的决心。


作为第一道防线,居民们修建了海堤,并在河口处设立水闸(当海啸靠近时,可以关闭水闸);另外还修建了离岸堤,并加高了河堤。


同样重要的是,他们部署了日益自动化的早期预警系统、界定了安全区域、并定期进行疏散培训(往往是在1896与1933年灾难的周年纪念日)。


这样的努力仍未能阻止3月11日地震造成惨重伤亡,在很多程度上可归因于本次地震所引发的海啸的强度与威力。


3月11日之前,靠近釜石市(Kamaishi)的Hongo村曾树立着两座石制的海啸纪念碑,其尖顶分别标出1896与1933年海啸的浪高。


部分是基于这些先例,村民们觉得在村子坚固的海堤后安家非常安全。村民们说,这些海堤非常高、也非常坚固,的确顶住了3月11日海啸的第一波海水。


然而,海水很快卷土重来,盖过了海堤与纪念碑。纪念1933年灾难的沉重的石制纪念碑,就被如此大威力的水流冲垮并卷走了。


在整个地区,一些防线被如此汹涌的海水彻底摧毁了,包括吉浜的防波堤与大船渡港口所在的吉浜湾湾口处的屏障。其它一些防线——如大船渡的最后一道海堤——在海啸袭来时被淹没了。


户田公明说:“我们从未预料到会发生这么大的海啸。我想没有一个人预料到。”


这位曾担任过建筑公司经理的市长,刚刚上任三个月。他已经在努力寻找方法,以确保这场最新的灾难,是他执掌的大船渡市的最后一次。


户田公明说,任何重建计划都应认识到,大自然是无法驯服的。


他说:“即使我们有对抗海啸的防护堤,也毫无意义。我认为,我们最好遵循自然地貌,以避免未来再发生海啸。”


在实践中,这将至少意味着限制在最低洼的地区重建房屋——鉴于日本的高人口密度、狭窄的沿海平原与陡峭的高山,这并不是一件容易的事。


不过,并非只有户田公明一人得出结论认为:人类必须适应自然,而最好的防御也许是避开。


在2005年飓风重创新奥尔良市之后,就有人呼吁放弃重建低洼区域,而是将其作为洪水的天然缓冲带。在英国,在洪泛区修建新房屋也遭到了越来越多的反对。


亲眼目睹自然灾害的户田公明笃信,即便是最富裕与最先进的社会,也不能指望藐视地质现实。


他说:“大自然的力量超出我们的预期,也超出我们的想象。这次我确确实实感受到了这一点。”

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2011-03-22 11:27 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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