Safe, after the earthquake

By: Rora

Mar 11 2011

Category: Japan

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I didn’t feel a thing, in fact. I live very far from where the earthquake happened- a 20 hour car ride away, according to google maps. And since I also live on the opposite coast, we won’t be experiencing much change in coastal water levels. Fortunately, much of the country has been spared damage, however the areas that were affected have been absolutely devastated. Entire towns were completely wiped away by the water.

Consider this for astounding: the aftershocks have been as frequent as every ten minutes. (link via Gakuranman). There have been 67 aftershocks at a magnitude of 5 or more.

Just this morning I was wrapping up a week long review session on disasters at my school. After a whole week of talking about earthquakes (and fires, and typhoons) twice a day, a lot of the kids were beginning to get quite bored and antsy with it. Even for 3 year olds, disaster prevention a big theme in school curriculum. Every Japanese kid learns from a very early age what to do during an earthquake. Our instruction at my school is fairly simple: cover your head, either with your hands or a backpack or anything you can find. There are even Japanese children’s stories about earthquakes and how to “beat them” by making smart safety decisions and being prepared.

This morning, in class, a one of my 3 year old students protested, “but mommy says my house very very strong. Earthquake no break.” I thought it was cute (and impressive English!), but thinking back on what he said and the sincerity in his eyes as he said it, it’s also very heartbreaking. Today was a reminder that we are small and powerless against nature, no matter how well designed our buildings and no matter how well organized our evacuation plans are.

If you want to follow coverage of the earthquake, I recommend Al Jazeera and the BBC. Both have excellent live coverage. Please keep Japan in your thoughts.

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