A little over two years since a devastating earthquake struck Japan and triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Google has collaborated with the town of Namie-machi, which sits inside the Fukushima Prefecture, to produce haunting Street View images of the stricken area. In a guest post on Google’s blog, Namie-machi Mayor Tamotsu Baba explains that the town has remained untouched since the disaster, and its 21,000 residents unable to return due to high levels of radiation.

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As Namie-machi continues to be unsafe due to high levels of radiation, the buildings destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami have remained untouched since March 2011. The images provided within the Street View show buildings that have collapsed completely, but also structures that remain seemingly intact. However, the town has been unable to repair “nor prepare them for the potential impact of further aftershocks.” Along one street, a kilometer from Ukedo Harbor, boats cover one side of the road, washed inland by the impact of the tsunami.

In working with Google to create the haunting and heartbreaking imagery, Mayor Tamotsu hopes to serve the many displaced townspeople who “have asked to see the current state of their city,” as well as those “around the world who want a better sense of how the nuclear incident affected surrounding communities.” Additionally, while emphasizing that the community will not give up on taking back their hometown, he hopes for the images “to become a permanent record of what happened to Namie-machi in the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.”

The project is part of larger efforts by Google to document both the devastation and reconstruction following the disaster that displaced 125,000 people and claimed over 20,000 lives.

+ Namie Machi Google Street View

+ Google Blog

Via The Guardian