The High Personal Cost of Disaster

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Damage (27RTR2JSK3)

Image by Kordian via Flickr

Fateful Choice on a Day of Disaster; When the Tsunami Struck, a Mayor Had to Decide Between His City and Family; WSJ, April 9, 2011.  Mayor Futoshi Toba of Rikuzentakata, Japan, lost his wife and his house in the Japan tsunami, but stayed on his job at city hall.  This article highlights the conflict between personal and professional demands.

More than 2,300 people—a tenth of the population here—were dead or missing.

A month later, Mr. Toba finds himself in a role of bewildering complexity and responsibility, as Japan struggles to recover from the worst natural disaster of its modern history and its leaders debate how—and even whether—to rebuild a part of the country that was already in steep decline. The decisions Mr. Toba and other local politicians make now may well determine whether the hard-hit areas on the northeast coast survive and thrive, or never recover.Mayor Futoshi Toba’s house in Rikuzentakata was destroyed in the tsunami.

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