I honestly don’t know where to begin.
I guess with thanking those that sent me messages via email, facebook and twitter: I’m fine, my family’s ok. My friends are for the most part accounted for and doing ok, tho’ honestly I have a few up north that I continue to worry about.
My family and I live in Japan’s south, on the island of Kyushu – the southern-most of the main islands. This quake and ensuing tsunami occurred a bit north of Tokyo.
And for the most part, Tokyo’s ok too. They’ve had… and will continue to have some hellish inconvenience, but compared to what’s happening not too far north of them, they’re ok.
But northern Japan is anything but ‘ok’.
This quake, has been pretty devastating. It’s said to be 8000 times more powerful than the one that hit Christchurch. No typo there: 8000. Just off the coast of Japan, about 300km north of Tokyo.
The ensuing tsunami has been the worst part. 1400 are confirmed dead, but the end toll will be well in excess of that, perhaps many times more.
Northern Japan’s now fighting continued earthquake tremors – aftershocks that in their own right are sizable earthquakes, floods from the tsunami (water isn’t receding), fires, and cold – it’s snowing in most of these places. Add to that, due to the shut down of all the power plants up there, most are without power.
Now there’s also the threat of nuclear danger, as 2 plants in particular are having problems with the coolant systems (Fukushima Daichi and Fukushima Daini). Daini in particular is having difficulty with the SCRAM procedure, and there’s the threat of complete meltdown. This is a very real fear, and one that is far from being resolved… and could have dire consequences. The government has declared a state of national emergency.
The images on local TV are almost surreal.
I’ve seen rivers where hours ago there were none, full of cars bounced and thrown around like toys. Images of houses ripped to pieces in seconds by water and debris. Other houses with cars, shipping containers or boats smashed through them. Fires ripping through cities. People stranded in cars on bridges and highways, standing desolute on rooftops – waving to news helicopters, pleading for rescue. I’ve watched hundreds of people crammed into small elementary schools now that their homes have gone. Scared, terrified of what’s happened and what could still be. The number now is that almost quarter of a million people have lost their homes.
Still… some luck involved. The time of day, the location, the time of year – this could have been worse. Far worse.
Additionally, the reality of this is that without the excellent infrastructure of the building codes and government response, this could have been worse. Japan’s SDF has been mobilised, and relief efforts are underway.
The international commmunity has responded quickly too. Relief teams and aid are coming in from all over the world.
On a more personal level, if you wish to help, then making a donation to the Red Cross would be fantastic, and go a long way to helping the nation of Japan.
Lastly, I want to share some words from the BBC, where ordinary people have written in…
“We are in an historical, deep grief. Thousands are searching for their families with no luck, and can only pray or cry now. We will never lose hope. We shall get back into peaceful life with unity, wisdom and love. Please be with us.”