It’s hard to concentrate on much else while reading and watching the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It almost becomes too much to take in, and I find myself having to take a break from watching video after video as more and more footage emerges from the chaos. Everything else seems frivolous in comparison, just thinking of what the Japanese people are experiencing and having to endure right now. It is beyond heartbreaking.
I’ve been following Maki Itoh, a food blogger, on twitter – she’s been tweeting translated updates from Japanese new sources nonstop throughout the day, and most of the time her news is hours ahead of the updates we receive here in the states. I highly recommend you follow her tweets if you want to stay updated on the situation.
The earthquake is considered the fifth largest the world has seen since they started documenting earthquakes in the early 1900s. Originally labeled an 8.9, Japan’s meteorological agency has proposed upgrading it to a 9.0. This earthquake was so forceful it actually moved Japan by as much as 13 feet, and it might have moved the earth and shortened the length of the day since it caused the planet to rotate faster than normal. (source: BBC News) Here is an amateur video from a school when the earthquake hit. You can hear the student saying that the earthquake had started 30 seconds before he started filming – it is unbelievably long and violent. It’s incredible how well the building held up to the shaking.
But then the tsunami hit… because of Japan’s incredible emergency preparedness there were warnings and some were able to escape to higher ground, but there was not enough time for some. Entire towns were wiped out, families separated, loved ones lost… the video footage is really difficult to watch, but here are some amazing eyewitness accounts:
Some footage showing the path of the tsunami.
You can see people scrambling to get away after they realize they are not high enough to avoid the oncoming wave.
It’s so terrifying.
A video of the moment the tsunami hit the fishing port of Miyako.
It is unbelievable how fast and strong the wave comes in.
The first I heard of the tsunami was through weather.com when I was checking whether or not it was going to rain on Friday. There were tsunami warnings for the west coast of California, so I immediately checked to see where the earthquake had happened. Waves had already hit Hawaii and it was set to hit California in the next hour or so. I didn’t know what to expect, and didn’t notice any real difference in the water when I went for a run down along Crissey Field, but later I saw this picture and video and I have to say I’m amazed. I can’t believe we would see a mini version of what hit Japan, and that it could travel halfway across the world and still resemble the wave that hit the Japanese coastline.
source: Steve Thuman
The horror isn’t over yet for Japan – there have been multiple explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and a third reactor has been at risk of a fuel-rod meltdown but seems to be stable for now. Now Maki is tweeting that a containment pool of used fuel caught fire in a fourth reactor, which in turn caused a hydrogen explosion. Anyone within an 20-30km radius of the plant is being advised to stay inside with the windows and vents shut.
People are still stranded, without power, rationing food and unable to communicate. There have been multiple ‘aftershocks’ the size of significant earthquakes, and the weather is near freezing in areas. If you want to help, donate money. You can text RED CROSS on your cell phone to 90999 to donate $10 or go directly to the Red Cross website. Here’s a link to some alternative organizations helping with disaster relief. Also, for the animal lovers out there, here is a website showing some charities assisting with animal rescues.
And if you live in California, or another earthquake prone area… PREPARE. I created my own earthquake kit (yes, my friends have made fun of my emergency whistle that I keep on my key chain), but you can also buy kits online if you don’t want to make one yourself.
In the meantime tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.