A Japanese TragedyMarch 15, 2011
Living in the Pacific is dangerous. The chance of being shaken up by an earthquake is high. We saw that in New Zealand a few weeks ago. They had one six months previously, but it didn’t cause the kind of devastation we saw recently. And now we have Japan where the earthquake measuring at 8.9 was the largest in the country’s history and the sixth largest recorded in the world. The quake was bad enough, but it was the tsunami that followed which caused the most damage. Cars and buildings were swept up in the giant wave and ships of all sizes were flung together like toys in a washing up bowl.
The most shocking thing for me was watching the mixture of water and debris, parts of which were on fire, move forward at speed, literally eating up the land. It reminded me of that 50s film The Blob with Steve McQueen, or any number of disaster movies where the fast moving water/molten lava/oil chases the hero/heroine, but can somehow be outrun. Real life doesn’t work like that, ladies and gentlemen. Three days after facing the rage of Mother Nature, we are really starting to see the fallout, which can be seen on the BBC website where they contrast the state of the regions before and after the tsunami. The town of Minamisanriku for instance is now as flat as a pancake because many homes had been swept away. According to the BBC, half the town’s 17,000-strong population are still missing. And just to compound the suffering, they now have to deal with a nuclear plant, which has suffered three explosions, making things very dicey.
As is usual for such tragedies now there are stories of extraordinary survival. A man was rescued after spending three days on the roof of what was left of his home after he was swept 10 miles out to sea. His wife, however, was not so lucky and was lost to the ocean.
The world has been swift in its messages of support and the dispatch of specialist teams. I’ve been particularly impressed with the people of New Zealand who sent out their own rescue crew, even as they continue to struggle to rebuild the broken city of Christchurch. If anyone knows what the people of Japan are going through right now, they certainly do.
And just so you can compare and contrast, see here the compassion of these financial reporters
Makes you glad to be a human being in this world today, doesn’t it?