March 13, 2011
When the first huge, terrifying quake hit on Friday afternoon, March 11, I was in Tokyo preparing for a class the following day. Having lived through several large quakes before (including one in which I was trapped in an elevator for hours before being rescued), I knew what to do. Trembling (me, and the earth together), I went into automatic mode, shutting off anything that could cause a fire, propping open the front door and one other escape route in the kitchen (door frames can shift causing them to jam shut), donned my emergency kit-knapsack (containing flashlight, extra batteries, water, essential medications, money, identification papers, gloves, face mask, first aid supplies, extra sweater with hood). The initial quake lasted for several minutes — it seemed as though it would never stop.
Still trembling (me, and the earth together), I turned on the emergency news channel and learned the center of seismic activity (the largest on record in Japan, currently revised at 9.0) was Miyagi Prefecture, on the Pacific coast, north of Tokyo. Gigantic tsunami (tidal waves) were predicted, and came… and keep coming. As do tremors of varying degrees (as I type this, my desk sways slightly in a minor aftershock).
Transportation and communication services have been widely disrupted — frustrating and frightening. To conserve energy, limited and rotating shut-downs are being scheduled throughout the Kanto Plains area. At this time I have access to the Internet and grab the opportunity to make two requests:
To those of you who live in Japan
To those who want to offer help to disaster relief efforts in Japan:
JAPAN update & request:
To those of you who live in Japan, especially in areas likely to be directly affected by heavy seismic activity in the next few months, PLEASE take this moment to check on your own preparedness to manage during emergencies. I highly recommend you look at 72 hours (based in San Francisco), a wonderfully thorough site that provides good basic information.
JAPAN update & request:
To those who want to offer help to disaster relief efforts in Japan, please contribute to your favorite charity or organization collecting for this occasion. If you have no established route, please consider one of the following:
Japanese Red Cross
Doctors without Borders
International Medical Corps
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