Throughout the annals of recorded history Mother Nature has periodically "given birth" to monstrous disasters that have totally humbled Earth's inhabitants. Surrounded by human suffering and pain, the living are often dropped to their knees just moments before their own demise occurs.
Connected almost telepathically, the religious and the non-religious in total synchronicity look up towards the heavens as ask aloud, "Why?"
Two years and six days after Japan's worst Earthquake in one hundred years spawned a massive life ending Tsunami that spawned a nuclear disaster, the Japanese are still asking "Why us?".
Although the Japanese are recovering, rebuilding and repopulating, the legendary courage / psyche of the descendants of the Samurai is still heavily scarred with memories that to some, appeared to be "the end of the world".
Today's article reflects on Japan's catastrophic event as if it happened yesterday. As we stop to contemplate the destructiveness of an "Angry Mother Nature", let us pause to think about the continuous plight of Haitians as they too recover from an earthquake that caused death of biblical proportions. To our friends in both Japan and Haiti you are not forgotten.
In the News.....
March 11, 2011
At 2:46 pm local time, northeast Japan was rocked by its strongest recorded earthquake in history. The 8.9-magnitude monster temblor created destruction and terror as it tore across Japanese farmland and towns, ripping concrete apart like paper mache. The violent earthquake was felt 81 miles away in the streets of Tokyo, causing instant fear and chaos.
For most of the 12.9 million people that call Tokyo home, the sheer shock of the earthquake generated unbridled thoughts of "this is it, this is the end of my world", as individuals in shock witnessed shaking buildings, cracking streets and spontaneous fires that were ignited by sparks that were born from broken gas and power lines.
The earth's latest violent convulsion originated some six miles deep in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 78 miles off of Japan's northeast coast, violently unleashing a tsunami as high as 33 feet, (10 meters) completely engulfing towns located along the northern coast. Video reveals coastal towns being obliterated in seconds by the force of the tsunami waters.
As of 11:30 pm EST at least 1000 people have perished from both the catastrophic earthquake and from the monstrous 33-foot wave that has transformed Japan's northeast coast into a watery graveyard that's cluttered with the debris of broken buildings and automobiles.
State broadcaster NHK Television showed footage of waves sweeping away buildings and vehicles as far as five miles inland. Airports are closed and bullet train services have been suspended indefinitely. More than 4 million homes are without power according to a spokesperson from Tokyo's Electric Power Incorporated.
“Major damage occurred in the Tohoku area” north of Tokyo, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said in a nationally televised address after convening an emergency response team. “I call on citizens to act calmly. Especially those who are near a beach, please evacuate to higher ground to avoid the tsunami.”
The world’s strongest earthquake in more than six years struck at 2:46 p.m. local time 130 kilometers (81 miles) off the coast of Sendai, north of Tokyo, at a depth of 24 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was swiftly followed by several 7.1- magnitude aftershocks the agency said.
The Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea were among more than 20 countries that braced for their own tsunamis the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. Hawaii, fully aware of the oncoming wall of water came under Tsunami watch, warning residents of the islands to move to the safety of higher ground. Effects of the Tsunami were felt on Alaska's coastline and the United States Pacific Northwest states.
Prime Minister Kan in response to the catastrophe has ordered the army to assist in ongoing rescue efforts. “The Self-Defense Forces are already mobilized in various places,” Kan said.
Boats from the Sea of Japan propelled by the force of the monstrous tidal wave smashed into inland buildings, sweeping up tons of projectile debris and automobiles.
Adding to the mayhem, an oil refinery on fire outside Tokyo exploded, sending plumes of black toxic smoke in the air. A nearby nuclear power station was shut down as a precaution. Indeed, the nuclear facility which is located in Fukushima, Japan is currently attempting to vent radioactive vapor in order to reduce pressure in it's nuclear reactor.
Allowing overheating would cause water that covers the fuel to evaporate and “you could uncover the fuel eventually,” causing a meltdown, said Jim Malone, chief nuclear fuel development officer for Lightbridge Corp. (LTBR), the McLean, Virginia-based developer and consultant on atomic fuel.
Lack of adequate cooling for a reactor may cause a core meltdown, the most dangerous kind of nuclear power accident, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
A meltdown poses the threat of a breach in a reactor’s containment building, causing the release of massive amounts of radiation.
Currently in Tokyo, it's 1:30 pm March 12, 2011- 10:30 pm CST New Orleans- and the effect of the double catastrophe is evident everywhere. Millions of Japanese and foreign travelers are stranded not knowing how to get back from where they came and millions are stranded in elevated apartments afraid to leave. The situation is dire. Problems involving drinking water and sanitation will be the next major obstacle to overcome. As reliable reports continue to filter in, updated news of the crisis will be posted.
Two years later...
Japan and the Japanese people have once again survived the fury and destruction of Mother Nature. The deadliest natural disaster in over five generations could not defeat the warrior spirit of these descendants of Samurai.
Millions of tons of rubble have been cleared and countless buildings demolished along the coast. However the enormous task of restoring infrastructure still lies ahead in many areas, and towns have yet to finalize detailed recovery plans. In the hardest-hit districts, the landscape remains nearly as bleak as it was two weeks after the disaster.
Sixty miles and further inland from the devastated coast there has been a big boom in business for the larger supermarket and “Walmart-like” store-chains. Roads and highways that were not destroyed by the flood waters connect newly transplanted consumers to the front doors of these mega-stores, while small business owners whose stores were touched the “reaching tentacles of the tsunami” are suffering the effect of inconsistent government infrastructure rebuilding.
In closing, people around the world who fully understand how fragile life really is, are wishing the best for Japan. To our friends from the "Land of the Rising Sun", we hope that this test of endurance has galvanized you to "Live strong and to Love strong". Good day Japan, you give credence to the adage, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”.
As always, the New Orleans Examiner is interested in what you think. Can we expect more natural disasters of this magnitude to occur as the number of globally documented irregular weather patterns and seismic sifts continues to increase? Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off.
Until next time Louisianans, Good Day, God Bless and Good Fishing.