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September 13, 2011
Japan marks 6 months since earthquake, tsunami
TOKYO (AP) -- Last Sunday was the six-month anniversary of the day the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's northeast coast.
Some 20,000 people are dead or missing. More than 800,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed. The disaster crippled businesses, roads and infrastructure. The Japanese Red Cross Society estimates that 400,000 people were displaced.
Half a year later, there are physical signs of progress.
Much of the debris has been cleared away or at least organized into big piles. In the port city of Kesennuma, many of the boats carried inland by the tsunami have been removed. Most evacuees have moved out of high school gyms and into temporary shelters or apartments.
Last week the Kyodo News agency distributed an amazing group of combination photographs showing three scenes. The first scene is right after the earthquake and tsunami hit, then three months later and finally, how the scene looks now. (44 images)



This combination of three photos taken over a six-month period shows aftermath of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its cleanup progress in Wakabayashi-ward in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. The left photo, taken March 16, 2011, shows debris of houses and vehicles cover the area after the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 2, 2011, shows some debris and cars were removed, while the right photo taken Sept. 3, 2011 shows student volunteers getting rid of smaller rubble in a cleared field. AP / Kyodo News


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This combination of three photos taken over a six-month period shows aftermath of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its cleanup progress in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. The left photo, taken March 12, 2011, shows The No. 18 Kyotokumaru fishing vessel sitting amid still smoldering debris after being swept away from a port by the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011, the ship staying along with collected damaged vehicles. The last photo taken Sept. 5, 2011, shows the ship sitting in the same position amid almost cleared land. Kyodo News reported that there is a movement among citizens to keep the ship as it is as a monument of the disaster. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_03.jpg
This combo image, the initial destruction and progress of cleanup after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami is seen in Kesennuma, northern Japan. The left photo, taken March 24, 2011 shows the fishing boats swept away by tsunami and left on land. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011 shows the boats stay in the same position in the area almost unchanged and the right photo taken Sept. 5, 2011 shows the area after the boats were removed. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_04.jpg
This combination of three photos taken over a six month period shows the March 11 tsunami, and its aftermath, in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan. The top photo, taken March 11, 2011 shows the tsunami rushing towards an urban area immediately after an earthquake. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011, shows the same area with one remaining house, while the bottom photo, taken Sept. 6, 2011, shows the area after the house was removed. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_05.jpg
This combination of three photos taken over a six-month period shows aftermath of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its cleanup progress in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. The top photo, taken March 12, 2011, shows debris of houses, ships and others being washed in to the port and against the breakwater by the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011, shows the floating debris was almost taken away from the water. The last photo, taken Sept. 6, 2011, shows sunken ships were removed and damaged houses were almost cleared. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_06.jpg
This combination of three photos taken over a six-month period shows aftermath of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its cleanup progress in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, in northeast Japan. The top photo, taken April 6, 2011, shows a sightseeing boat "Hamayuri" sitting on top of a two-story inn after the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011, shows the same inn after the boat was removed, while the bottom photo taken Sept. 1, 2011 shows the inn standing after nearby debris was almost removed. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_07.jpg
This combination of three photos taken over a six month period shows the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its aftermath in Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture, in northeast Japan. The top photo, taken March 11, 2011, shows tsunami surging across the coastal area. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011 shows the same area still partially flooded, while the bottom photo taken Sept. 6, 2011 shows grass growing in once flooded area. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_08.jpg
This combo image, the initial destruction and progress of cleanup after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami is seen in Otsuchicho, Iwate prefecture, northern Japan. The top photo, taken March 14, 2011 shows buildings standing amid the debris. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011 and the bottom photo, taken Sept. 7 show the cleanup and demolition are still in progress. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_09.jpg
This combo image, the initial destruction and progress of cleanup after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami is seen in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan. The top photo, taken March 13, shows a street covered by debris burnt by a fire. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011 shows a partial clean-up of the same street, while the bottom photo taken Sept. 1, 2011 shows the area after the debris was removed. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_10.jpg
This combination of three photos taken over a six month period shows the March 11 tsunami and its aftermath at Sendai Airport in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan. The top photo taken March 11, 2011 shows the tsunami engulfing the airport immediately after an earthquake. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011 and the bottom photo, taken Sept. 6, 2011 show the restored and reopened airport. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_11.jpg
This combo image, the initial destruction and progress of cleanup after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami is seen in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, in northeast Japan. The top photo, taken March 15, 2011, shows a military truck drives through a road flooded by the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 4, 2011, shows partial clean-up of the same area after the water receded, while the bottom photo taken Sept. 5, 2011 shows a used-car shop resumed business, left top, in the area after the debris were removed. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_12.jpg
This combo image, the initial destruction and progress of cleanup after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami is seen in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, in northeast Japan. The top photo, taken March 14, 2011, shows Japan Self-Defense Force personnel search for victims near stranded fishing boats and damage from the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011, shows a temporary dump set up in the same area, while the bottom photo taken Sept. 1, 2011 shows a stranded ship still sits in the area after the debris were removed. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_13.jpg
This combo image, the initial destruction and progress of cleanup after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami is seen in Matsukawaura fishing port in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, in northeast Japan. The top photo, taken March 13, 2011, shows stranded fishing boats and damage from the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 3, 2011, shows partial clean-up of the same area, while the bottom photo taken Sept. 6, 2011 shows the area after the stranded ships were removed. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_14.jpg
This combination of three photos taken over a six-month period shows aftermath of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its cleanup progress in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. The top photo, taken March 18, 2011, shows police and fire fighting vehicles parked in the middle of the rubble after the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 6, 2011, shows two workers walking in the same area while debris removing works go on in the background, while the bottom photo taken Sept. 5, 2011 shows a man on a bicycle pedaling past the grass-covered land. AP / Kyodo News



earthquake_combo_photos_15.jpg
This combination of two photos taken over a six-month period shows aftermath of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its cleanup progress in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. The top photo, taken March 11, 2011, people walking on debris of devastated houses covering a road after the tsunami while the bottom photo taken Sept. 1, 2011 shows the same road with debris totally removed. AP / Kyodo News



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