View Single Post
Old 03-12-2011, 08:36 AM
Pollyanna's Avatar
Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Cyberspace, Sydney connection
Posts: 10,000
Default Re: Japan's Earthquake

Originally Posted by mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Taking that into account, this is still unprecedented. I think the best example of good practice is the nuclear procedures they have implemented - they just seem to have worked.
From the news:
For years Japanese people have talked about “the Big One”: an earthquake so devastating in its destructive power it would dwarf the one that destroyed Kobe in 1995 and even the 1923 Tokyo earthquake, which claimed 140,000 lives.

Yesterday, the “Big One” duly smashed into the north-east coast of Japan like the proverbial bolt from the blue. The resultant tsunami sent a wall of water carrying ships, cars and buildings far inland, engulfing everything in its path.

Yesterday’s events illustrate both the strength and the limitations of Japan’s preparedness. Sitting on the “Ring of Fire”, close to where the Pacific and Eurasian plates meet, Japan is the most earthquake-aware country in the world. That is why buildings in Tokyo swayed but did not fall. Japan’s nuclear reactors were built inland and to withstand earthquakes, although there are anxious days ahead because of the risk of radioactive leaks at the damaged Fukushima facility.

The country’s disaster response policies have been substantially improved in recent years. Japanese workers and children practice regular evacuation drills and many keep a bag of prepacked emergency supplies. Around the entire Pacific rim, an early warning system raised the alert in 40 countries, in contrast with the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, when the lack of such warning around the Indian Ocean cost some 230,000 lives. In many respects Japan sets the gold standard in disaster response.

Yet for those closest to the epicentre, there was simply no time to escape. Even a prosperous well-prepared nation can be rendered powerless by the terrifying power of nature. Seismology remains a relatively crude science. Recent earthquake activity was assumed to be aftershocks from a 7.1 level earthquake recorded a few days ago, rather than a mere foretaste of the devastation to come. Good planning can minimise damage and loss of life but the sheer force and scale of yesterday’s disaster could never have been predicted.

Polly's rhythms