The vast majority of natural disasters are events people can recover from, and are even helpful for regional economies in afflicted areas. The problems facing Miyagi, however, are more serious and longer-lasting than what people typically face for a couple of reasons - newly found radioactivity present in the environment, and the incredible sinking of land surface area that allows water from the ocean to flow right into town. I found reports of those areas of liquefaction in Chiba quite disconcerting, but this seems worse. From The Japan Times online:
High tides inundate sunken towns
March 11 earthquake caused some places to drop by 1.2 meters
ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi Pref. — When water begins to trickle down the streets of her coastal neighborhood, Yoshiko Takahashi knows it is time to hurry home.
Twice a day, the flow steadily increases until it is knee-deep, carrying fish and debris by her front door and trapping people in their homes. Those still on the streets slosh through the seawater in rubber boots or on a bicycle.
"I look out the window, and it's like our houses are in the middle of the ocean," says Takahashi, who moved in three years ago.
The March 11 earthquake was so powerful it pulled the entire country out and down into the sea. The mostly devastated coastal communities now face regular flooding because of their lower elevation and damage to sea walls from the massive tsunami triggered by the quake."
Read the rest of the story here