24th anniversary of Great Hanshin Earthquake observed


Events were held on Thursday morning to mark the 24th anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Hyogo Prefecture.

The earthquake, which struck at 5:46 a.m. on Jan 17, 1995, killed 6,434 people in Hyogo Prefecture and neighboring areas.

A ceremony was held in the rain Higashi Yuenchi Park in Kobe where 7,000 bamboo lanterns were lit and placed in the figures 1.17 (the date of the quake) and the kanji character hikari (light) in memory of the victims.

Meanwhile, in a park in Itami, 6,434 candles were lit to honor the dead.

The 7.3 quake buried residents in flattened buildings and uprooted highway overpasses and train tracks, while fires raged through collapsed timber houses and acrid smoke darkened the sky.

Heavy damage to the harbor area, where nearly all of the 300 shipping berths were destroyed, dealt a severe blow to the city's economy, sparking a population exodus over the following months and years.

About 40% of Kobe's residents were either born after the quake or moved to the city in the years following the disaster, according to city officials. Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto said it was important to pass on memories of that day to the next generation.

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I remember that day as if it was yesterday!!

Its been 24 years but it seems like yesterday!!

1995 was a horrible year and this was the first event of that horrible year!!

I lost acquaintances in this earthquake and its aftermath.

May they rest in peace!

And may we never forget them!!!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

I was doing translation for a construction material import company in Kumamoto at the time. You can imagine they had a professional interest in this.

Prayers for the victims. Kobe is a fine city.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Laguna: Kobe is a fine city.

Yes it is. It is a very pretty city.

It is touching how the Japanese pulled together in that crisis.

There are numerous accounts of Japanese taking extraordinary measures to go out of their way to help others in distress..

I visited Kobe a year after the earthquake and some law enforcement personnel referring to that period of time said the crime rate actually went down.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I remember it well. The length of the quake scared me more than anything. I didn't know where it was, but I knew it was big.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Remarkably, the city of Kobe has made leaps and bounds in the years since the earthquake with many new foreign residents interested in starting ventures there.

Kobe has a bright future....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is still vivid in my memory. I remember the shaking, things crashing, the lights going out and every dog in the neighborhood starting to howl.

We were lucky to have the electricity come back quickly but our water was out for 20 days.

I called my Mum overseas as soon as the telephone was working. You had yet heard about the quake. I told her it was bad but were okay. Some overseas friends could not reach us for days because the lines were jammed.

The big thing that impressed me about Kobe was quickly mutual aid groups got to work helping the injured and the homeless.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I was in Tokyo at the time, and believe me, there was nothing "GREAT" about it.

I think we could feel it in Katsushika' Ku at about a 3 or 4 in magnatude.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We had just sold our flat in Kobe and moved out, but even 150 km away the house shook violently and I clearly remember the wife screaming. I too was seriously impressed to hear of how so many people instinctively flocked to help out, coming from all over Japan, bringing relief by truck or by boat or however.

Later though I heard how little compensation people received for their lost homes and families. A taxi driver who lost everything, including his wife and house, told me that the government gave him a single pay-out of 300,000 JPY.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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