75-year-old Kunio Shiga listens to a battery-powered radio in the living room of his cold, darkened home inside the deserted evacuation zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex. The farmhouse sits about 500 yards down a mud-caked one-lane road strewn with felled trees, the carcasses of pigs and debris. He cannot walk very far, his wife is missing and he is scared and disoriented. “You are the first people I have spoken to” since the tsunami, he tells the AP.
Today, we’ve published imagery of the Sendai region at even higher resolution, which we collected on Sunday and Monday. The new Sendai imagery, along with satellite imagery from throughout the area, is now live in the base imagery layer of Google Earth and will soon be visible in Google Maps. We hope to continue collecting updated images and publishing them as soon as they are ready.
We hope our effort to deliver up-to-date imagery provides the relief organizations and volunteers working around the clock with the data they need to better understand the current conditions on the ground. We also hope these tools help our millions of users—both those in Japan and those closely watching and sending their support from all over the globe—to find useful information about the affected areas.