'Miracle' tree removed in tsunami-ravaged city

ABC News
'Miracle Pine Tree' Removed in Tsunami-Ravaged City

View photo

'Miracle Pine Tree' Removed in Tsunami-Ravaged City (ABC News)

The tsunami-ravaged city of Rikuzentakata, Japan, cut down the lone pine tree that survived the disaster 18 months ago and came to symbolize hope, but there are plans to keep the preserved tree on display.

Crews began the delicate process of cutting the 270-year-old tree into nine different sections Wednesday morning, removing large branches by crane as residents looked on.

Some 70,000 pine trees dotted Rikuzentakata's waterfront before the tsunami hit in March last year, but only one survived the destructive waves. Residents called the 89-foot tree a "miracle," but the saltwater that seeped into the roots proved to be too much.

Crews plan to hollow out the tree trunk now, and insert a carbon spine inside after treating the wood. They will replace the original branches with plastic replicas, before returning the pine to its original place next February, just shy of the second anniversary of the disaster.

"This tree has had such a big role," Mayor Futoshi Toba told reporters. "Reconstruction is just beginning, and the process is a long one. This is just a temporary move."

The entire process is estimated to cost 150 million yen ($27 million), a hefty price tag considering the larger reconstruction projects the city is already tasked with. A Facebook page was launched in July, to raise money for the preservation project, and city officials said they have collected more than $330,000 so far.

Nearly 20,000 people died when the tsunami hit the Tohoku region in northeast Japan 18 months ago. Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced by the disaster

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Ex-attorney general sentenced to jail, then cuffed in court

      NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Former state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, once a rising star in state politics, left a courtroom in handcuffs on Monday after getting a 10- to 23-month sentence for a retaliation scheme a judge linked to her all-consuming ego.

      Associated Press
    • Teen Girls Arrested After Video of Assault on Man, 62, Appears on Facebook

      Two girls, one 14 and one 15, are accused of assaulting a 62-year-old man who told them to get off his lawn.

      Inside Edition
    • Israel's next Gaza war will be 'last' one: Lieberman

      Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Israel's next war with Gaza militants would be their last "because we will completely destroy them," but added he remains committed to a two-state solution. Lieberman, speaking in an interview with Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, said however that he did not want another war in Gaza, which would be the fourth since 2008. The outspoken former foreign minister urged Palestinians to pressure Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, to "stop your crazy policies".

    • Noose Put on Student, NAACP Seeks Federal Probe

      The president of the Mississippi NAACP is demanding a federal investigation after the parents of a black high school student said four white students put a noose around their son's neck at school. (Oct. 24)

      Associated Press Videos
    • US: Philippines' Duterte sparking distress around the world

      MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A top American diplomat for Asia said Monday that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial remarks and a "real climate of uncertainty" about his government's intentions have sparked distress in the U.S. and other countries.

      Associated Press
    • Grandmother of Five Among 13 Dead in California Tour Bus Crash

      A tour bus collided with a semi-tractor trailer Sunday while the group was en route to Los Angeles from the Salton Sea area.

      Inside Edition
    • AP Top 25: Ohio State slips, Penn State in, Houston out

      Ohio State dropped four spots to No. 6 in The Associated Press college football poll after its first loss of the season, and Penn State moved into the rankings for the first time since 2011 after upsetting ...

      Associated Press
    • Model 3 could be Tesla's most reliable car — here's why

      Tesla's low ranking in a recent Consumer Reports reliability survey reveals something compelling about the Model 3.

    • We just entered an alarming 'new era' of global warming

      The Earth permanently passed a global warming threshold last year that alarms climate scientists and has profound consequences for everyone alive today — particularly young people looking forward to the future.  According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), observatories around the world found that in 2015 and 2016, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere crossed the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm), and that this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.  SEE ALSO: The Great Barrier Reef isn't dead, despite its viral obituary This is the highest level ever seen in all of human history and is 144 percent higher than the pre-industrial average. Such a high level is also very likely the highest on record going back to between 800,000 and 15 million years ago, based on various studies.  For perspective, scientists have found that previous periods with similar carbon dioxide levels — all of which occurred before modern humans evolved — had far higher global average temperatures and sea levels than today. In some cases, such periods had global average sea levels of 100 feet higher than today. 800,000-year history of carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere, showing the recent spike. Image: Scripps institution of oceanography/mashable Many scientists think that avoiding dangerous climate change will require getting carbon dioxide concentrations down to 350 parts per million, which will require massive emissions cuts and new technologies to push annual emissions into negative numbers. While the planet was flirting with the 400 ppm mark on a month-to-month basis at some observatories, it had not yet breached the line worldwide for an entire year until 2015, the WMO found in a report released Monday.  The rate at which greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are accumulating in the air guarantees that growing impacts from climate change, ranging from rising sea levels to hotter heat waves and ocean acidification, will continue to occur and in fact worsen in coming decades.  Carbon dioxide levels in 2016, with various emissions scenarios projected through 2100. Image: Climate Central This is in part because carbon dioxide can last in the air for thousands of years, which is why environmental advocates and policymakers say we only have one to two decades at most to act before an unsafe amount of climate change is essentially baked into the climate system.  The WMO report found there was a nearly 40 percent increase in the warming effect on our climate (technically known as "radiative forcing") between 1990 and 2015, due to the increase in greenhouse gases in the air. Scientists at the greenhouse gas monitoring station high atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii have said that carbon dioxide levels will not dip below 400 ppm for many generations, according to a WMO press release on Monday.  “The year 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism and climate action with the Paris climate change agreement. But it will also make history as marking a new era of climate change reality with record high greenhouse gas concentrations,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement.  In fact, last year saw the largest annual spike in greenhouse gas concentrations on record. Part of this sharp annual uptick is due to the strong 2015-16 El Niño event, which caused droughts in tropical areas that normally absorb carbon as so-called "sinks."  Drier than average weather in such areas, including Indonesia, reduced the ability of tropical forests to suck up as much carbon dioxide as they usually do, and increased the occurrence of forest fires that release carbon dioxide into the air.   “The El Niño event has disappeared,"  Taalas said. "Climate change has not."

    • Civil rights hero from 60s takes criticism as Trump backer

      HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — Clarence Henderson was hailed as a hero nearly 60 years ago when as a young black man he participated in a sit-in at a segregated North Carolina lunch counter.

      Associated Press
    • The Latest: Driver in fatal bus crash sued in other wrecks

      PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a tour bus crash that killed 13 people in Southern California (all times local):

      Associated Press
    • Turkey’s New Maps Are Reclaiming the Ottoman Empire

      Erdogan’s aggressive nationalism is now spilling over Turkey’s borders, grabbing land in Greece and Iraq.

      Foreign Policy Magazine
    • Shots hit California police car, woman on ride-along hurt

      MADERA, Calif. (AP) — A woman interested in becoming a police officer who was on a weekend ride-along in a California police cruiser was hurt by flying glass when shots were fired through the cruiser's front windshield, police said Monday.

      Associated Press
    • Philippines' Duterte softens stance toward U.S. before Japan visit

      By Linda Sieg and Tim Kelly TOKYO (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte softened his remarks about a "separation" from long-time ally the United States on the eve of a visit to Japan, a country worried about Manila's apparent pivot away from Washington and towards China. "The alliances are alive," Duterte told Japanese media in Manila on Monday, Kyodo News reported.

    • Thirteen killed, 31 injured in California tour bus crash

      A tour bus crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer on a Southern California highway before dawn on Sunday, killing 13 people and injuring 31, authorities said. The bus was traveling west on Interstate 10 when the crash occurred near Palm Springs, a city about 100 miles (160 km) east of Los Angeles, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Chief Jim Abele told reporters. The bus driver was among the 13 killed, he said.

    • Big 12 hot seats topped by Charlie Strong at Texas

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Charlie Strong began his weekly news conference Monday by spending a couple of minutes discussing the multitude of self-inflicted wounds that cost Texas in its lost to Kansas State on Saturday.

      Associated Press
    • Audi Will Reportedly Buy Back 25,000 Cheating TDI Vehicles in the U.S.

      Audi SUVs equipped with the 3.0-liter TDI V6 can't be fixed to meet emissions regulations, so the automaker will have to buy them back.

      Road & Track
    • 10 pumpkin recipes that make us glad it’s autumn (10 photos)

      It’s October and supermarket shelves across the country are groaning under the weight of piles of little orange globes. Not doing Halloween chez yours this year? Then you could be forgiven for leaving them there but you’d be making a big mistake. We’ve already told you how your pumpkin leftovers can make you hotter , but guess what? They can make you healthier, too. Pumpkin flesh is packed with tummy-filling fibre, vision-boosting vitamin A, cancer-fighting beta-carotene and immunity-enhancing vitamin C. That’s before we even get onto the seeds, whose phytoestrogen and phytosterol content is credited with reducing bad cholesterol, preventing hypertension and enhancing both mood and sleep. Oh, and a single cup of pumpkin puree contains almost as much potassium as the equivalent quantity of coconut water. Meaning your homemade pumpkin spice latte is basically a sports drink. Click through to discover the simplest, tastiest and healthiest ways to squeeze maximum results from this too oft-maltreated member of the squash family.

      Samantha Simmonds, Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger
    • Donald Trump rejects polls as inaccurate: ‘All the fair polls have us winning’

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who once boasted about his robust poll numbers, has turned to criticizing them as ineffective and “rigged” now that most show his rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, with a commanding lead. Trump made the dubious claim in a morning tweet –– the latest example of his pattern of messages of mistrust and skepticism aimed at all things that portray his campaign efforts in a negative light. Monday morning on “The Chad Adams Show,” a conservative radio program in North Carolina, Trump said that pollsters focused on Democrats when asking about which candidate won the second and third debates.

      Yahoo News
    • Optics of reported link between Clinton ally, FBI

      Judge Andrew Napolitano and John Sununu explain legal and political fallout

      FOX News Videos