Friday, 11 March 2011
Probably just like most of you I have spent this morning doing little work and gaping, open mouthed, at the video feeds coming from Japan. It is a well-worn cliche that Japan is a politico-socially stable society in a geologically unstable area, but nothing brings home the sheer power and force of this earthquake like the footage of houses, ships, trucks, and towns being lifted and smashed by the force of the tsunami generated by the quake. It is simultaneously deathly horrifying and shockingly astounding. Living in Taiwan and Japan I adopted a blasé attitude to earthquakes, but it will be hard for me to be so cold-blooded ever again.
For the moment, I merely thank god (or whoever) that everyone I know in Japan and Taiwan (which the tsunami also hit) is safe and well. The dead are only just being counted, but it is hard not to believe that they will greatly exceed the 6,434 people killed in the 1995 Kobe earthquake, although modern construction should ensure that the toll will not approach the 100,000 killed in 1923 Great Kanto quake.
[Picture: An earthquake-damaged refinery blazes out of control in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture. Picture taken by Danny Choo and made available on a CC-by-SA license, 11th of March 2011]
Posted by Gilman Grundy at 03:24