Director General/Executive Director
Remarks at the commemoration of the First Anniversary of the Fukushima Event
On the first anniversary of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, we come together today to honour the memories of those who lost their lives, as well as those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
The events of that day continue to maintain a powerful hold on all our memories.
The earthquake on 11 March, so strong it shifted the earth's axis, created a tsunami that flooded parts of Japan's pacific coast. The waters broke through seawalls, reaching far into valleys and deep into villages and towns.
People in these areas had little warning; many were unable to escape to the safety of higher ground.
Hundreds of thousands were left homeless.
Millions felt the impact of these events and the severe complications with the nuclear reactors that followed.
Japan's firefighters and other first responders displayed extraordinary courage.
Moved by the pictures of destruction, and a shared sense of humanity, over a hundred countries, as well as dozens of organizations and ordinary people offered support and assistance.
Yet, what remains so clear in our minds is the response of the Japanese people. I was particularly moved by their resourcefulness and determination to overcome this disaster.
I also commend the work of our colleagues from the International Atomic Energy Agency, so ably represented here today by my dear colleague, Director General, Yukiya Amano.
The IAEA's work, based on year's of experience, did much to provide context and understanding about events at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) is evaluating the radiological implications for health and the environment, with the contributions of other organizations.
The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs also has a valuable role in promoting space-based technologies to assist disaster management.
Immediately after the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan, UN-SPIDER, which is an UNOOSA programme, established contact with its networks to gather relevant information and to set up a resource page on its Knowledge Portal made available to the wider disaster-management community.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Looking back on those events, on March 11 2011, we remember the courage and bravery of a proud nation.
To my mind, this is one of the great strengths of the Japanese people. When the waves reached high on that terrible day, Japan was not overcome.