New tsunami blocking system in northeastern Japan

Floodgates that shut automatically in the event of a disaster have become operational in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan.

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Floodgates that shut automatically in the event of a disaster have become operational in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan. The area was hit by massive tsunami in the 2011 earthquake.

Forty-eight volunteer fire brigade personnel died in the prefecture while they were closing floodgates and carrying out other related activities at the time of the disaster.

To prevent a recurrence, authorities have been building levees and floodgates that automatically shut down when a tsunami warning is issued.

The new gates began functioning on Monday at 8 locations in the prefecture.

When activated, they shut completely in a minimum of 6 minutes. They can also be closed remotely by officials at the prefectural office and other places should the automatic system fail.

The head of a local fire brigade said he feels full of emotion to see a new system in place to protect lives. He noted that his brigade members will continue to offer guidance to residents as there could be a tsunami beyond assumptions.

The prefecture plans to make the automatic floodgate system operational at 220 locations in coastal areas by 2019.

Source and image: NHK
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