Just a little over an hour ago, Japan was hit with an 9.0 earthquake (worst in 300 years) . And although little damage was done here in Osaka, it was still quite an experience.
Our first Quake
While we were preparing for this trip we were wondering how it would be to experience an earthquake while we were here. And since Japan gets around 1500 earthquakes a year, it was pretty likely we would get one.
As I was working on my computer at the kitchen table and Stacey was on the couch, the first shocks began to hit. At first it didn’t even register as a quake to me. I felt like I was a bit dizzy. As it increased, I could tell something was up.
Stacey got pretty concerned and wondered what we should do. As it turned out, there wasn’t much we could do other than ride it out.
Being on the 9th floor of our building, there was a noticeable sway and bumping motion. The only way I can describe it was it felt like standing in a massage chair after downing a beer or two. It was a little bit disorientating, but we were fine.
The resulting fires and tsunami water surges look to be doing far more damage and I’m not sure if there has been any loss of life currently.
The good news is that the Japanese media is very quick in informing us what is happening. The bad news is that I can’t understand most of it. However, it seems like world news stations are now picking up the story and reporting on it.
The quake rattled buildings and toppled cars off bridges and into waters underneath. Waves of debris flowed like lava across farmland, pushing boats, houses and trailers toward highways. – CNN
7:00 pm I’m amazed at how useful Twitter has been for finding out what’s going on. Tons of great information and suggestions for what to do a where to go if you’re unable to travel due to the trains being shut down.
8:36 pm They reported that the quake was about 8000x more powerful than the recent Christchurch quake (Stacey was convinced they said 8000x, but I was sure she heard it wrong and put 8x instead. She was right). Also it’s reported about 32 people are known dead in the earthquake or resulting tsunami.
8:52 pm The BBC’s Greg Ward in New Zealand says authorities have downgraded the tsunami threat. They say there is now a marine threat only. Here’s a good site for some updates from the streets of Tokyo.
9:01 pm Death toll updated to 60 (and 39 missing) and reports of a ship of 100 people swept away.
10:18 pm Fukishima nuclear powerplant evacuation ongoing. Cooling systems failed so the evacuation of the area is a precaution.
10:23 pm No reports of damage from tsunami landfall in Philippines and Indonesia. Hopefully it’s losing its strength.
10:41 pm Kyodo news agency reports death toll at at least 60 with 56 missing, although BBC currently reports 90 deaths with the numbers rising.
Dr John Elliott, an earthquake expert at Oxford University, has told the BBC that Japan has so far coped well with such a huge quake. “They have had many earthquakes in their history and they have learned from this and they build appropriately for it,” he said. “The tsunami is much harder to deal with. They have hundreds of kilometres of coastline and low-lying areas and it is hard to mitigate against the direct effect of such large event.”
Some main Tokyo train lines are starting up again. That will certainly help people get home. Public schools are all open for people to stay the night if they can’t get home.
10:54 pm Between 200 and 300 bodies have been found on a beach near Sendai; police report. NHK television said the victims appeared to have drowned. Passenger train still unaccounted for.
I’m going to be heading to bed now. I’ll update as the news come in in the morning.
Saturday 9:30 am We felt a couple of more aftershocks in Osaka just after I went to bed, but nothing serious. The death toll is expected to reach up to 16000. Several trains and the ship are still missing.
Naval and coastguard helicopters airlift all 81 people to safety from a ship that was swept out to sea by a tsunami. – BBC
Also, an interesting article of how Japan’s strict building code saved lives. I’m actually really surprised there was as little damage as there was.
Leave a Reply