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An Illustrated Look At The Fukushima Disaster, One Year Later

A beautiful new video offers sobering facts about the recovery efforts—but also hope that things can, one day, return to normal.

It has been just over a year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that triggered a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The triple disaster killed tens of thousands of Japanese residents and left even more homeless, unleashed massive amounts of debris into the ocean (some of which may be heading to American shores), triggered the release of radioactive particles that have ended up in the Japanese food supply (radiation exceeding safety levels has been found up to 200 miles away from from the Fukushima nuclear plant), and spurred a worldwide debate on the safety of nuclear power.

While Japan is sinking $14 billion into cleanup through March 2014, decontaminating the Fukushima area will still take decades. Even people living as far away as Tokyo are still concerned about radiation exposure. Whether the nuclear disaster will lead to a marked increase in cancer remains to be seen.

Pictures of the disaster’s aftermath are widespread. This video offers an alternative perspective: an illustrated look at Japan post-quake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. It’s disturbing, but ultimately hopeful. What other choice is there but to have hope in the face of a disaster this large?