Operation Tomodachi: photos from US Navy's Japan disaster relief operation

The US Navy has published a set of photos related to the "Operation Tomodachi" disaster relief mission in quake- and tsunami-stricken Japan. About the photo above, by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McCord:

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 13, 2011) A Japanese home is seen adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Ships and aircraft from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group are searching for survivors in the coastal waters near Sendai, Japan.

Direct link to photo, and here is the entire set of Operation Tomodachi images.


    1. If you look through the set you can see that a house like this was the exception. The trail of broken wood and other debris floating in the Pacific Ocean right now is quite astonishing.

  1. We had a floating two story house after the tsunami here in Hawaii, but it sank before it passed the Captain Cook monument in Kealakekua Bay.

    The fact that this house made it out to sea in the shape it is in has to be one of the most surreal images of the whole disaster. What an arresting, if grim image.

    1. So what to do when the smaller pieces wash up on shore? It may take weeks or months, but eventually they will. What is the:
      -legal thing to do? What if it’s in a park? What about personal artifacts or parts of persons?
      -healthful thing to do? Will it be considered hazardous waste from toxins or biological decay?
      -ethical thing to do? Is it a morbid collector’s paradise? An entrepreneur’s e-bay dream? Should we ignore it? Should it be treated like a solemn monument or garbage?

  2. Well, I’m just wondering about the homes that survived. If they were more bamboo construction (which floats better than ‘wood’).
    And if they where affixed to the foundations on a more giving method for earthquake resistance. To bend and give instead of being tied to the ground with concrete…and if more ‘modern’ homes of hard wood didn’t give and bend and broke up in the quake and wave.
    Something for the forensic engineers to study no doubt.

    1. A lot of the homes that survived had steel construction. Not too sure if the “bamboo” means anything; they use pine and other traditional woods for basic construction there the same way we do.

      1. He just mentioned bamboo because that’s what “ethnic” people use to build things.

        Everyone outside of the U.S., Canada and Western Europe are ethnic, don’tchaknow. Just a big old bunch of ethnics from Ethnicstan.

        1. It’s quite common in East Asia to see bamboo scaffolding used in construction, even for high-rises. I suppose that you might mistake it for the actual construction materials.

    2. From what I saw living in Tochigi prefecture for a year, most Japanese houses are built a lot like this:

  3. I don’t want to look at the whole photo set. I am so sad about all the disasters lately. Remember Haiti?

    I have no money to donate and don’t have any way to travel to help.

    What to do?

    1. If you live someplace where there are groups organizing to help folks in Japan, volunteer your time.

  4. I noticed an absence of insulation visible in the debris fields — at least the familiar pink fiberglass stuff you see everywhere in tornado disaster photos in the U.S.
    Japan should consider super-insulating their new construction as they rebuild. Maybe they won’t need so many reactors in the future.

Comments are closed.