he video: In the days following Japan's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, YouTube lit up with footage shot by witnesses to the disaster. But perhaps the most terrifying video took more than two weeks to emerge. In a five-minute clip (watch it below), a camera-equipped bystander in the northeast town of Kesennuma takes refuge on a tall building's roof as frighteningly powerful waves roll across the town's seaside road, sweeping up cars as if they were children's toys. The water rapidly builds, before quickly overwhelming most of Kesennuma's small buildings. At the 2:54 mark, a stranded boater can be seen struggling unsuccessfully to beat back the current; in a matter of 180 seconds, most of the town has been consumed by an unstoppable torrent of black water.
The reaction: This might be the "most insane" footage to date, says AllahPundit at Hot Air. "By the end of the clip, if not for that lone building on the right edge of the frame, you wouldn’t know civilization had been there." Truly, footage like this makes the terrible truth of what happened in Japan come to life, says Alex Alvarez at Mediaite. Actually witnessing such destruction "helps put things in perspective, and brings a dose of reality where words and still images cannot." Watch the incredible footage:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
- Can Rand Paul avoid the Neville Chamberlain trap?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- Why is American internet so slow?
- Why is it so expensive to build a bridge in America?
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- To build the Death Star, we'll need this space elevator
Subscribe to the Week