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March 14th, 2011

Japanese Earthquake protection

It is very poignant to me how very prepared the Japanese people and government were for this earthquake.  The tremor was updated to a 9 (1,000 times the power of the New Zealand earthquake) and yet even small wooden structures still stood.  All reports agree that there is no destruction to be seen outside the coastal towns hit by the tsunami but within those towns everything is smashed to pieces and covered in mud.  It's floods and landslides that killed thousands of people not collapsing buildings. 

Japanese society tried to protect their coastal citizens from a tsunami with seawalls, well equipped warning systems, and clearly marked routes to higher ground.  Above all they trained them.  The Japanese people are the most earthquake educated people in the world.  Every Sept. first the entire country mobilizes to educate themselves on earthquake and tsunami safety.  (The Seattle area with our vulnerability to earthquakes, tsunami, lahars and Volcanoes is no where near as well educated or prepared. Most people myself included have no idea what is the fastest clearest route in the event of a tsunami or  lahar.)

But when there is so little time to flee what happens to the elderly, the sick, the disabled or those burdened with young children.  How likely will those people make it to higher ground?  A hospital far from the coast was swamped to the third floor.  How many of the sick and injured made it to the safe floors?

We learn from the thousands of dead that somethings can not be protected against, but how many more thousands dead would there be if they hadn't tried?

We should learn from this.

(I've tagged this earthquake and politics.  In the end it seems that everything is politics. Scientists tell us that a citizen of Seattle who lives an entire life in the area will be guaranteed to experience an earthquake of this magnitude. Yet no one wants to prepare.)

"As safety officials sought desperately to avert catastrophe, the government said radioactive material leaking from reactors was enough to "impact human health" and the risk of more leaks was "very high."

In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima province that was one of the hardest-hit in Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami.

He urged anyone within 19 miles (30 kilometers) of the plant to stay indoors or risk getting radiation sickness.

"The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Kan said."



news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ap_on_bi_ge/as_japan_earthquake_nuclear_crisis

(My new userpic is of a child in the impacted zone being checked for radiation.)

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