How To Respond to a Massive Earthquake?

March 14, 2011

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God has once again shown who is in charge. Men build a nuclear power plant to withstand an 8.0 earthquake, and here comes a 9.0. And just for the fun of it, let’s have a 20 foot tsunami to overcome that 15 foot sea barrier.

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan over the weekend are a tragic disaster of monumental scale. The fact that only about 3000 people are dead or missing is just amazing. My prayers go out to all who are affected. I only know a few people who are in Japan right now, and they have all called in to let us know that they are all right. I am so glad to see the offering of aid and the gracious acceptance of that aid.

To me, the next thing to do is start rebuilding and help recover or prevent additional damage at the nuclear power plants. To the broadcast news, the next thing to do is stop nuclear energy and investigate why the Japanese government was not ready for this disaster. Really? Ready for a 9.0 earthquake and almost instant tsunami? Really? Instead of criticizing and taking up valuable resources to be “on the scene” they should be supporting and helping. There will be plenty of time to assign blame to any part of the event or recovery over the next months and years.

At the same time they are criticizing Japan, who in my opinion is responding courageously to this event, the broadcast news is bewailing the damage done on the west coast of the United States. Although the losses there are regrettable, they are less understandable. The west coast had more than 8 hours to prepare. I am no expert in how to get ready for a tsunami, but the people in Hawaii seemed to do alright by getting the ships and boats out to sea. Granted, there was not much that could have been done to save or protect the shore structures (docks and lifts, etc), but the boats seem a senseless loss. I have not heard, but I hope no one was injured or killed in any of the other areas affected by the tsunami.

Can we truly prepare for a natural event of this magnitude? In some small ways we can mitigate the consequences of the event, yes. I think that Japan has shown that. Compare the impact of this earthquake and tsunami to the one that hid Indonesia just a few years ago. Japan has used their wealth to provide as much of a buffer against nature for her people as is humanly possible today. Knowing how Japan responds to these events, we as a world will learn from this event and be able to do much more to protect our people and property in the face of future disasters.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Martin Kelly
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 08:03:45

    I have noticed that the broadcast news is following my advice, even if they have not read it. The nightly news on all of the networks and most of the cable stations have left off beating the Japanese government. They are however still bashing the nuclear industry. There are so many experts giving what if scenarios. They bring out Three Mile Island (remember six cows died) and Chernoble which had no safety like the U.S. and Japan have (the stacked two reactors on top of each other. The safety of nuclear power plants is significantly better now than in the 70s or 80s. No one sits still when they are competing for a share of the energy or any other market.


  2. kosmo
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 09:28:25

    A bill that would have made it easier for energy companies to build new nuclear power plants is now dead due to these fears.

    Because, as you know, Iowa is at extreme risk for a massive quake.

    I think some people forget that the scales used to measure quakes are not linear, but logarithmic. A 9.0 on the moment magnitude scale (the Sendai quake) is not merely 1.125 times as powerful as a 8.0 quake – rather, *32* times as much energy is released. This was the 4th most powerful quake since we began measuring them more than 100 years ago. In short, a historically significant quake.


  3. kosmo
    Mar 16, 2011 @ 09:36:39

    Apparently some people are suggesting that the quake is payback for the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was under the impression that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were payback for Pearl Harbor.

    Seriously, people. It has been 70 years, and everyone involved in planning those attacks is dead. Let’s not blame the current generation, whom are our allies.

    Crunchy has an interesting taken on U.S.-Japan relations over at Mommy’s Recess.


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