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Kumamoto Earthquake - Photo by Kyodo[/caption]
On April 14, 2016, Japan was hit by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake. While not as strong as the magnitude 9.0 earthquake
that happened back in 2011, there was still plenty of damage inflicted.
This 6.4 earthquake struck Southern Japan, near Kumamoto, Kyushu around 9:26 at night local time. Sources report
power outages occurred in areas near the epicenter. Water was also cut off
in certain areas. Damages weren’t catastrophic, but included fallen bookshelves, vases, and other things not secured. Some areas, however, saw house walls collapse, possibly trapping people inside.
There are nuclear power plants in the region, but they appear to be unaffected by the earthquake.
Not only do earthquakes cause immediate damage, they also bring about more lasting effects. In this most recent earthquake, news sources reported power outages and cut off water supplies. While the damage wasn’t terrible, the ensuing absence of resources could create other problems.
As seen in this latest Kumamoto earthquake, these rattlings can cut off your water supply, be it a broken water main or some other way.
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Cleaning up after a broken water main caused by an earthquake - Photo by Beth Schlanker[/caption]
Without water, it will be much more difficult to remain healthy and strong. And during an emergency such as this, you’re going to need all the health and strength you can get. Hopefully you have water stored in barrels, jugs, or other containers to keep yourself hydrated until your water comes back on. If not, there are other ways to collect drinking water.
Gather extra emergency water from ice cubes, toilet tanks (make sure there is no sanitizer or other chemicals in it), or even your water heater. Some sources of water may need to be filtered and treated (such as from the water heater), but at least in an emergency you will have a little extra water to keep you going.
Aside from drinking, sewage lines may be damaged, so before flushing your toilet, be sure to make sure those lines aren’t damaged. Otherwise it could make a big mess. Likewise, if your water pipes are broken, you may need to turn off your water at the main valve. Failure to do this could result in a flooded home.
Earthquakes have a nasty habit of knocking out power when they strike. If this happens during the day, that’s not so terrible. But when it happens at night, that’s when things can get scary.
No power means no light, and when buildings collapse and bookshelves and other unsecured belongings crash to the ground, it becomes something of a minefield. Broken glass, bits of brick and stone and other small and large shrapnel on the ground can become hazards when trying to evacuate a building or otherwise navigate in and out of doors.
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Photo via News on 6[/caption]
There may be downed power lines following the shaking. Steer clear of these, and do not try to move them. They could still be live and touching one could have deadly consequences.
No power also means more difficulty in keeping your food fresh. Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors shut as much as possible to keep the cold air contained. Next, use your most perishable foods first. Doing this will help spread out your food usage longer than just eating what sounds good at the time.
While not necessarily mentioned as something that was a problem after this Japan earthquake, it most certainly can become one. If you smell gas in your home, shut off your gas at your meter, open the windows, and leave. Only shut off your gas valve if there is a leak, because in order to get it turned back on, you’ll need someone from the gas company to come and do it for you.
But whatever you do, don’t look for a gas leak with candles, matches, or any other open flame. Doing so could cause your house to explode.
No matter how strong or weak an earthquake, always put the safety of you and others first. You never know what kind of damage a building has sustained, so practice caution in the wake of an earthquake. Aftershocks are also prone to happen hours, days, or even weeks after the initial quake, so it would be best not to stay in any building with compromised integrity.