Backgrounder

Japan's 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami

The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011, is a human tragedy—the disaster claimed approximately 16,000 lives, injured 6,000, and destroyed or damaged countless buildings. As a result of the disaster, it is expected that debris that washed into the Pacific Ocean will reach United States and Canadian shores over the next several years.

In Canada, the Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee co-chaired by federal and provincial representatives has been created to manage any tsunami debris that arrives on British Columbia’s coast. The province of British Columbia is also coordinating with California, Oregon and Washington in the United States to share information and work together in those instances where it makes sense.

The Province of British Columbia website provides current information and other resources related to the Japanese Tsunami Debris situation in British Columbia. In addition, a Japan Tsunami Marine Debris Joint Information Center website has been established to serve as a multi-agency public information and education site.

Canada is working closely with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is leading efforts with federal, state, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts to natural resources and coastal communities. The latest information from NOAA can be found on their website.

All general tsunami debris sightings should be reported to the NOAA email address designated for this purpose: DisasterDebris@noaa.gov.

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