Friday, March 11, 2011


I was awakened by the voices of my family, commenting about how incredible the images were. I rolled over and fumbled for the remote, finding it on the nightstand where I had left it and hour earlier.I am embarrassed to admit that I have the ability to manipulate the remote in the dark. I did so and the TV was soon fired up.

Like the other times when I have been awakened to be advised of a disaster, it took me a short while to figure out what I was seeing on the TV. I watched the screen as a wall of debris and water advanced across farmland and then through a city. My initial thought was a dam failure, but streaming graphics soon alerted me to the large earthquake in Japan.

I flipped through several channels and found it humorous that the local Fox affiliate was showing live video, while the NBC news affiliate was proudly showing the latest of Charlie Sheen's antics. Finally, I settled between CNNI and the local Fox channel, flipping between the two.

The video was horrific. All of the things that I fear both during and after a large quake were present. Shake damage, post quake fire, destruction to infrastructure and large numbers of people adversely affected by the event milling around.

There was a fair amount of video. Most of what I saw was shot from a helicopter flying over a coastal area, reportedly near Sendai, Japan. Images of Sendai airport under water, with people standing on the roof of the terminal building left an impression, as did those of a huge fire burning among some natural gas storage tanks. Still, nothing compared to those of the wall of debris and water flowing across the coastal plain. After some time, the images became repetitive, and as I had to work today, I switched the set off and returned to sleep.

As I write this, Hawaii is bracing for a wave, it's size and intensity is unknown. Images from Japan have stopped, darkness and damage have stopped them for now. Reports of hundreds of fatalities in the Sendai area are beginning to surface, those figures are sure to increase as time passes. As daylight returns to Japan, there will be more video showing the level of destruction, some we will find astonishing.

This looks to be a truly regional disaster, one that will have long term physical, emotional and political impacts upon the people of Japan. Events of this nature are not that rare in Japan, they have spent incredible amounts of money in preparing for them. We will be well advised to watch Japan closely over the next few days, observing what is working for them during the rescue/recovery phase and what is not. I think we will be amazed at the scope of this disaster and hopefully we will be amazed at the efficiency of the recovery.

Keep the people of Japan in your thoughts and prayers today, the suffering of many will be great over the coming days. Also, keep the first responders over their in mind, they are getting rocked, both figuratively and literally.

Thanks for reading,

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