|The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai|
We still don't have the technology to predict when these disasters will occur, but technology allows us to reduce the cost of human lives. The fear, at present, is always that if it happens off-shore, that tsunamis will be created. While we can prepare for earthquakes, prevent the loss of life and damage through building earthquake-resistant buildings, we still don't have tsunami-resistant measures. Tsunamis are far more devastating, a series of waves, known as the "tsunami wave train", with a current warning time of only 10 to 20 minutes in regions close to the epicenter. There is simply too little time.
High magnitude earthquakes occur every 200 years or so, scientists stated that we were "overdue" in certain regions. Japan lies on the Pacific-Philippine-Eurasian triple plate junction and is therefore seismically very active. When it happened though, I could only think of putting up a quick post warning those living near the coastal regions of the pacific basin, who may read blogs before listening to the news.
Still, it is incomprehensible, horrific and I cannot begin to imagine how terrifying it was for those affected. In real life as in the blogosphere we live in a global community where friends and family are spread around the world. To date, all have checked in and are thankfully safe, but shaken up. To extend my deepest sympathies and condolences, while absolutely sincere, seems rehearsed, but words fail me. There is a feeling of shock and helplessness; at times like these, I desperately want to reward a sniffer dog.
Over the next few days, the media will continue to show us an onslaught of devastating images, eye-witness reports and cycle through "breaking" news. A sensationalized show of devastation and suffering, with incorrect facts and tag words presented by, at times, inappropriately over-enthusiastic reporters. I will not be watching.
I turned to the internet, where I can choose the news I want to see and hear. In a new age of being connected at an instant and global level, I found humanity at its best. Within minutes twitter topics had gone up, Google People Finder had stepped in, seismologists gave quick and informative updates. Amazed, I scrolled as people from virtually Every.Single.Country extended their sympathies and support, countless voices as one: "We are with you, Japan!" Geographical, economic and religious borders were irrelevant in this global display of support. For those in Japan, who lost mobile service or the internet, they were still able to communicate. Some of the most touching messages came from people in Christchurch, NZ, who are still dealing with the recovery from the devastation and damage they experienced. Proclamations of gratitude for Japan's aid and that now they would be there to help the Japanese.
Maru, Japan's most famous cat, has entertained many with his antics. A lovable, clumsy dork of a cat, who has devoted his life to fitting into boxes. Safe. A comfort amidst all the tragedy.