Tag Archives: Tsunami

  • 2 Things Japan Teaches Us About Disaster Preparation

    Dark water surges from the sea, the 40 meter wave crashing down upon anything that stands in its way. Streets become rushing rivers, and then an extension of the ocean itself. Boats take to the flooded streets, belly up as they careen through the city. Entire buildings are uprooted from their foundation, tossed and battered as the tsunami waves push them farther and farther away from where they had once rested.

    This may sound like something out of a fantasy novel (because really, a 40 meter wave?), but this is exactly what happened to Japan only four years ago. This video gives you just a taste of the destruction that took place:

     

     

    The Great East Japan Earthquake How do you prepare for the unexpected?

    Four years ago, Japan was rocked by the Great East Japan Earthquake – a 9.0 magnitude – which was followed by a devastating tsunami. Now, the effected regions have had time to recoup and rebuild. Japan is now teaching the world what it’s learned from this disaster.

    Every 10 years, the United Nations holds a World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. This year it was hosted in Japan. In particular, the conference was held in Sendai, which, according to the Japan Times, “is a city that is synonymous with resilience to disasters for its remarkable recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.”

    There are two things in particular that stand out from what Japan is trying to do.

    1. Cost effective prior investment
    2. “Building back better” (creating nations and regions that are more resilient than they were before the disaster)

     

    Cost Effective Prior Investment

    I think the key words here are “prior investment.” Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, the government took aims to make their nation safer when it comes to disasters.

    Richter ScaleThis earthquake registered at 9.0 on the Richter scale, and when talking about it they use words like “unpredictable.” But guess what? It happened anyway, predictable or not. However, despite the unexpected quake, Japan already had preparations in place. Well, maybe not for a 9.0, but they get a 7.0 or 8.0 about once a decade, so earthquakes are something they have prepared for. That’s why they’re urging other nations to get prepared, just in case one of these “unpredictable” disasters strikes again. If something of this magnitude doesn’t strike, there are bound to be other disasters instead. As the saying goes, prepare for the worse, hope for a lesser disaster instead (or something to that effect).

    Japan has also put into place a Disaster Prevention Law. Don’t be fooled, this law isn’t to meant to illegalize disasters (thereby reducing them through incarceration), but to find ways to make them less devastating. One way is through construction. Their high-rises sway like trees when the ground starts shaking. Because of their construction requirements, these buildings can withstand heavy quakes, thus saving countless lives within the buildings. Another way Japan prepares is by having homes and businesses stockpile food and water.

    Sound familiar?

    We talk all the time about storing food and water for those “unpredictable” moments. Fortunately for Japan, it was before the disaster that these preventative measures were put into place. If they had waited until after this massive disaster, many more lives would have been lost. Of course, we’re talking about a global scale here, but we can definitely shrink it down to fit your personal life.

    Tsunami Evac Tower (nikkei) Do you know where you can go when disaster strikes?

    For example, how can “prior investment” relate to you? Well, in the same way the Japanese are gathering a supply of food and water for emergencies, can you do the same? Japan has also constructed tsunami evacuation towers to give people a place for refuge during such storms. Do you have your own personal evacuation tower? Where will you go when your tsunami crashes against you? Do you have preventative measures in place to weaken the blow, or lessen the damage?

    Prior Investment now is the only way you will weather an earthquake, hurricane, accident, job loss, or any form of disaster that could affect you.

    There are several ways to get started with your prior investment. Here are some pre-storm preparations to consider:

    1. Emergency kits
    2. First aid kits
    3. Food storage
    4. Water storage
    5. Contingency plan

    There are many different kits available (pre-made) for your convenience, and at a good price. There are also plenty of individual kit items available, so you can build your own kits or add to existing ones (check out the links above for options and ideas).

    There is time to prepare before those “unexpected” disasters strike. That time is now.

     

    “Building Back Better”

    OK, so maybe you were caught off guard when disaster struck. What should you do now?

    Well, I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t sit around thinking lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. Just ask the folks in Kissimmee, Florida who had three hurricanes pass through in 2004, or the people in Moore Oklahoma, today digging out from their second tornado in less than 2 years. These are people committed to “Building Back Better.” We should be, too.

    Lightning ThunderThe odds of you getting struck by lightning twice is statistically very low, and the odds of you getting struck even once in your lifetime is 1 in 3000. So if it can happen once, it can happen again. Remember Japan’s 9.0 earthquake? The odds of an earthquake of that magnitude occurring was once in several centuries. Who could have seen that one coming! But come it did. Just because the odds are in your favor, it doesn’t mean you’ll come out the victor.

    When it comes to “building back better,” take a look at Japan’s example. They have become the leaders in helping countries be prepared for disaster.

    There is a saying that goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

    I’d like to change that up, if I could, to something a little more…human:

    “Fool me once, shame on me for not preparing for it in the first place. Fool me twice…well, maybe I’ll get lucky? I hope.”

    We should never let ourselves be fooled, not even once. It shouldn’t happen, since we can all be prepared for anything. But being fooled twice is downright unacceptable. We need to learn from the past, be it our own or the past of others, like Japan. Lightning has struck in the same place twice, after all (or for one (un)lucky man, seven times).

    We can learn a lot from The Great East Japan Earthquake. If you’re prepared before unforeseen disaster strikes, you will be so much better off. If you haven’t prepared…it’s time to take the next step and begin working on preparing yourself and your family.

     

    Has disaster ever caught you unawares? What happened? Looking back, what could you have done better? Share with us your experiences!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: be prepared, Japan, Tsunami, Earthquake, emergency preparedness

  • Could a Tsunami Hit the Pacific Northwest?

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    Tsunami Evacuation Route Sign - Could a Tsunami happen in the Pacific Northwest?

    If you enjoy vacationing at the Beaches on the Pacific Northwest coast, be aware of the potential warning signs for a Tsunami. As we learned in the post, Tsunami-Like waves Hit New Jersey, three people were swept into the ocean. Also, the devastating Tsunami that hit Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka in 2004 took the lives of many.

    From these events we learn, if ever a tide drops, get to high ground immediately because it will roar back with a vengeance and you can’t outrun it. But how do these events relate to vacationing in the Pacific Northwest?

    Researchers at National Geographic believe that the rupture of the Cascadia Fault line in the Pacific Northwest in 1700 may have created a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan that same year. According to the New York Daily News, reports from seismologists suggest that geologically, “Oregon and Japan are mirror images.”

    The similarity of these two regions has caused the Oregon legislature concern after the devastating effects of the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. Since history has indicated that the fault lines of Japan and the Pacific Northwest are linked, the Oregon legislature believes that a large magnitude earthquake in Japan could potentially create an earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. For centuries, Native American tribes located along the coast have passed down oral histories illustrating the impact of the 8.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated regions of Oregon, Washington, California, and British Columbia in 1700.

    Currently, the Oregon legislature is trying to get Oregon residents to prepare for a potential natural disaster. Many seismologists believe that an earthquake and tsunami of the same magnitude as the 1700 quake is long overdue and will affect the Pacific Northwest again. However, the legislature realizes that they have a long way to go to adequately prepare its citizens for a potential earthquake of this magnitude.

    Many areas in the Pacific Northwest are working on getting their buildings up to code. However, Maree Wacker, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Oregon, believes that while the state is making great preparations for its citizens, “Oregonians as individuals are underprepared.”

    Although the potential date of the rupture of the Cascadia Fault line is uncertain, now is the time to prepare for the potential dangers associated with a major earthquake and tsunami. Create emergency plans and have emergency supplies on hand (such as emergency kits and food storage). Remain informed on updates and news related to these potential natural disasters.

    For more information on Tsunami and Earthquake preparedness:

    http://beprepared.com/insight/6880/earthquakes/

    http://beprepared.com/blog/4819/get-ready-to-shake-out-free-download-about-earthquake-preparedness/

    To read more about amazing the history of the Cascadia Fault Line check out these links:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/12/1208_031208_tsunami_2.html

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/report-chilling-forecast-northwest-quake-article-1.1289429

    http://www.oregongeology.com/sub/earthquakes/oraltraditions.htm

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: beach safety, Tsunami, Earthquake, natural disaster, emergency preparedness

  • Tsunami-like waves Hit New Jersey

    Tsunami warning sign

    In mid-June, tsunami-like waves hit the New Jersey shore, sweeping at least three people into the ocean.

    The event occurred in close conjunction with a weather system labeled by the National Weather Service as a low-end derecho which propagated from west to east over the New Jersey shore just before the tsunami. It is also possible that the slumping at the continental shelf east of New Jersey played a role. The tsunami was observed at over 30 tide gauges and one DART buoy throughout the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean.

    Read more here: http://oldwcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/previous.events/06-13-13/index.php

     

    Tsunamis can come unexpectedly and very quickly, and the first wave is not always the largest in a possible series of several waves. Tsunami waves can travel as fast as 500 miles per hour and can raise water levels as much as 100 feet. If you live or vacation on an island or in a coastal location:

    • learn what the tsunami warning alarms sound like (it will likely be similar to one of these)
    • know what the signs of a tsunami are
    • sign up for earthquake and tsunami alerts on your cell phone
    • have a plan for evacuating to high ground in case of a tsunami warning
    • follow suit if the locals start running for the hills

     

    In a nutshell: If the tide ever drops suddenly, get to high ground immediately, because it will roar back with a vengeance and you cannot outrun it.

     

    The most damaging tsunami is history was the 2004 tsunami that affected Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and other countries. Over 200,000 people died and many more were injured in that tsunami alone. Footage from the 2004 tsunami was caught on camera by several individuals and compiled into a documentary for BBC Channel 4 (Directed by Janice Sutherland). Links to the film are below.

    Please note: Much of this footage contains graphic and disturbing material, and there is profanity throughout. Please use caution when viewing, especially with children nearby.

    Tsunami Caught on Camera - Part One

    Tsunami Caught on Camera – Part Two

    Tsunami Caught on Camera – Part Three

    Tsunami Caught on Camera – Part Four

    Tsunami Caught on Camera – Part Five

    Tsunami Caught on Camera – Part Six

    Tsunami Caught on Camera – Part Seven

    Tsunami Caught on Camera – Part Eight

     

    Learn more about tsunamis at the NOAA Tsunami page.

    Also download and review this helpful Tsunami brochure produced by UNESCO.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: beach safety, water safety, Tsunami, natural disaster, flood preparedness, Emergency plan