Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake strikes Japan. (Our Earthquake)
By, Uwe Paschen.
As the earthquake struck, I was working in our school, at first it seemed like just another earthquake. However, we all realised very quickly that this was going to be a major earthquake, one that will cause some serious damage and claim many lives.
As we left the building after all the students had been evacuated to the sports area, I saw just how powerful this quake was, as it managed to create great waves in the JH schools pool spreading its water ten meters or further away for that swimming pool.
Some of the students where terrified and so where some of the adults as well, even though all are well familiar with earthquakes, this earthquake was generating fear and panic in many.
I am a pragmatist at heard and believe that we should not fear death and I do not fear death it self, especially not if it was to strike me personally. However, I do fear to see others suffer and lose loved one’s or be severely injured.
Once the students where on their way home and the school was closed up, I tried my cell phone and e-mail as well text messaging system to contact loved one's and friends, expecting the worth and still hoping for the best. Nothing worked though; I just managed to get one twit out. Therefore, I decided to drive back home already fearing that I may not like what I will find. As I took the 51 all seemed normal at first other then a traffic jam, that one was going the other direction though since all tried to move away from the sea shore fearing a tsunami wile I was driving towards that shore since that is where our farm is and where I may find my wife as well.
As I drove suddenly traffic came to halt and those that could left the road and took a detour, soon I fund out why, one of the bridged had been raised by the earthquake creating a road block of sorts. As I looked around I saw fire engines and damaged buildings, that is when I realised that our area was hit much worth then the North of Chiba Kent, the further I drove South the worth it got. What normally takes me less then an hour drive took me well over two hours after the earthquake.
While I drove, I felt the after shocks every now and then and those where strong enough by them self but nothing compared to that initial earthquake.
As I kept on driving, the sun light gave way to the night and I saw no lights on, nor any stores open. The trains where still not moving either. Once I came atop of a hill all was dark as far as I could see, a very unusual sight for the prefecture of Chiba
That was when I realised that we lost power through out a waste area. On the radio finally a broadcast, a tsunami warning or rather that several areas had been hit by a tsunami some with four metre high waves and other with waves much higher, up to ten meters according to the radio station. Now I understood why every one was driving in the opposite direction then I was. Still, I had to get home and find my wife; at least I hoped I would find her there. However, for a moment a thought crossed my mind that I should be prepared not find her or that she may be hurt or even worth. I kept on driving and listening to the radio. It is some what ironic that all our great technology, satellites and gadgets cease to function in such a disaster and that all that remains in operation are some good old fashion FM radio waves and laud speakers. Some more news came through of two nuclear power stations leaking radioactive water and one that is at risk of melt down. As I heard this, I remembered the Chernobyl disaster in the former USSR, I was a chemical student in Germany back then and far away from it, still the radioactive fallout reached us as well, even though it was minimal compared to what the Russian had endured, it was still not something one could shrug off easily either.
Japan is a small country with and very densely populated, another Chernobyl would have far more causalities here then it did in the USSR back in the eighties.
Why in heavens name does any one put nuclear power stations in a country known to be prone for major earthquakes is something I never understood nor will I ever understand it either, there are far safer ways to produce electricity and far more environmentally friendly as well.
Finally I reached our Farm and jumped out the car calling my wife’s name, She was there, alive and well, but in shock and some how traumatised. She wondered how her parent where and then told me that the house was a mess, things all over the place and every thing broken as well. I quickly looked around and assessed the damage as best as I could with a flashlight.
What a mess it was in deed, but the main building was still safe and seemed to be structurally sound as well.
Therefore, we set out to clean up some of all the broken things to be able to sit down and have some supper.
Fortunately the madjes salad I made the day before was still around since it was in the fridge even though the fridge was no longer where it was suppose to be, its contend was still there and some what okay.
As we had some of that herring and a glass of tea made from the water left in an emergency container, I suddenly remembered the Tsunami.
We have a GPS monitor for the navigation system, however, it can also be used for radio and TV, I asked my wife to find out what was what, since I do not understand every thing that is said especially on a bad reception and she does. The tsunami had already hit land by the time we listen to the latest newscast, fortunately our area was still high enough, but other areas where not so fortunate and many lives where lost. The tsunami claimed far more lives then the initial earthquake did.
A day has passed now; our neighbourhood head and leaders went to every farm to see if all where alive and well. Fortunately, in our community at least, no one was killed, we only lost some buildings and hard ware to the earthquake and that, even if it may not all be replaceable nor will we be able to afford to fix or replace most of it, but at least all where alive.
My wife finally received word from her parents that they where fine, just material losses.
I then set of to the city trying to find a place where I could send a message to my family letting them know that we were okay. I managed to get one message out and hoped that every one else will be notified form that person as well.
Then I had to find some more water since we where still out of electricity and our solar system was down as well.
Once I got back home more bad news came over the news channel, A major explosion was reported at the Fukushima nuclear plant "number one." The experts did not know what would happen next though. However, the radio active levels reported by NHK where to be at 1051 micro-sieverts, knowing that an X-ray emits between 50 to 100 micro-sieverts, this was not good news at all.
I send a letter to our mayor, that we should organise a relocation program for all those that lost everything, so that they may at least have shelter again and wont have to live in tents or gymnasiums, especially the elders and youngest segment of the victims being the most vulnerable, and knowing that time is of essence to prevent further victims we need to be solidarian and work together now. There are still many empty building standing even in the the areas hit by the earthquake that need to be re-a-located by decree if necessary and many families whose homes have not been destroyed have enough room to welcome one or more people for a year or more until things get rebuild. The men that are in good health and strong need to volunteer a month or more to rebuild Japan and employers have to make accommodations to make this possible.
This earthquake has devastated this area of Japan far be on what any single country, even a country as highly advanced as Japan can possibly handle the magnitude of devastation this earthquake has caused on its own. Even with out side help, it will take over a decade to recover from this last earthquake and to rebuild all the infrastructures.
However, it will be impossible to recover from all the lives lost, for those are not replaceable.
More news will follow, for now that is what has happened here and I hope that the nuclear power plant will be safely powered down.
"The Fukushima nuclear power plant. The evacuation radius has been raised to twenty kilometres. All safety futures have failed. Only the shell of the plant seems to remain.
Government agency are on high alert and NHK reported that the expert do not know what will happen at this point. The radiation is now at 1051 micro-sieverts"
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Downtown Toronto (Regent Park / Port of Toronto), Ontario, Canada