American Elephants

Update from a Devastated Japan: by The Elephant's Child

The 4,689 ft. Japanese volcano Shinmoedake erupted today, sending ash and rocks into the air in a plume two and a half miles high.  It erupted in January in its first major eruption in 52 years.  Access to the entire mountain has been restricted.

A survivor of the tsunami has been found ten miles out to sea, riding on the remains of his roof.  Hiromitsu Shinkawa, 65, was spotted among the debris and wreckage on the ocean.  As the tsunami approached, he made the decision to return to his home  in Minami Soma in Fukushima prefecture  to collect belongings.  He had been at sea for two days.  His wife, with whom he returned home, is still missing.

Nearly 300,000 people, left homeless, were bedded down in makeshift emergency shelters. Temperatures dropped to near-freezing and with no electricity, survivors were struggling without heat, food and in some cases clean water. In Tokyo, some say that there is little sign of damage. The international rescue effort in arriving with search and rescue teams,  and trained sniffer dogs. 10 US naval ships neared the affected region. Our aircraft carriers have enormous ability to help.

Authorities said that another massive aftershock may be expected. The death toll has reached 100,000 and rising. There is probably no country in the world that is so well prepared for a major earthquake, yet the “big one”  with a 30 foot tsunami is simply beyond understanding.

It looks to me as if their preparations for earthquake prevented much damage, and it was the tsunami that was responsible for the devastation. And it could happen here. The exact scenario that we saw in Japan has already occurred here in the Pacific Northwest, and the coastlines are vulnerable.   I’ve been through a couple of fairly big quakes in California, and the Nisqually quake here. The quake here was very different feeling, deeper.  Are we well prepared?  I don’t know.


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