Japanese Quake Shows country still on edge

English: An aerial view of Minato, Japan, a we...
English: An aerial view of Minato, Japan, a week after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Is history to repeat? I’ve seen damage first-hand, and hope not!

English: Map of 2011 Tohoku(Sendai) earthquake...
English: Map of 2011 Tohoku(Sendai) earthquake observed tsunami heights in Japan. 日本語: 東北地方太平洋沖地震で観測された、日本各地の津波の高さ(英語版)。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the International Herald Tribune:  It was perhaps the surest sign that Japan remains unnerved by last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. After a large quake on Friday hit near the same area stricken last year, broadcasters on the public television network NHK threw aside their usual reserve to repeatedly issue worried warnings about tsunamis, with one host frantically urging people to “flee now to save your life!”

For the network, which has long taken pride in its staid presentation of the news, the tone was a distinct break with past, when a premium was put on avoiding panic and retaining the type of composure in the face of adversity that is so valued in Japan.

This time, the country appeared to get lucky. The 7.3-magnitude quake that struck at 5:29 p.m. under the seabed off the northeast shore of Honshu, the country’s largest island, was the largest aftershock since immediately after last year’s quake, according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado. But it was small compared to last year’s 9.0 quake, which the center said released about 1,200 times more energy and which created a tsunami that wiped away seaside villages. About 18,600 people died in the double disaster.

On Friday, the water rose only about three feet in some places. And the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said that the Japanese authorities reported they had detected no trouble at any of the nuclear plants in the area. Last year, the wall of water generated by the quake swamped the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which later had meltdowns in three reactors that spread contamination over wide areas of land.

Although buildings swayed on Friday in Tokyo and as far away as Osaka, about 550 miles from the epicenter, there were no immediate reports of heavy damage, according to news agencies. Several people were injured in the north, news reports said, but as of Saturday morning only one person was reported missing and possibly dead.

NHK reported that the man, a fisherman from the Tohoku region, took his boat out to sea to ride out any tsunami. His boat was later found about three miles offshore without him on it; but since there appeared to have been no large waves, it was unclear what might have happened to him.

Earlier, NHK appeared to be taking no chances of playing down the potential for disaster, flashing the words “Tsunami! Evacuate!” in big red letters until the warnings were lifted about two hours after the quake.

The broadcaster was stung by an outpouring of criticism last year that it had not urged people along the shoreline forcefully enough to flee the destructive waves. (The public network was also criticized for some of its post-earthquake coverage, when it was accused of going too soft on the government.)

In a country that has always kept a studied calm during its all-too-frequent earthquakes, the reaction to Friday’s quake was reported to be swift and orderly, with some residents calmly leaving for higher ground before a tsunami alert was issued. Still, residents spoke of the emotional strain from the continued aftershocks and fears of another tsunami.

A man named Taichi Sato said on Twitter: “For us, the disaster isn’t over. Something could happen that could destroy what we’ve only started to rebuild.” According to his Web site, he runs a project bringing volunteers to do tsunami cleanup in Ishinomaki, which was hard hit last year.

Elsewhere, there were signs that complacency might be creeping back. On Thursday, a radiological cleanup worker helping to remove contaminated soil from Naraha, a town in Fukushima Prefecture that remains partially evacuated because of radiation fears, appeared not to be worried about storing bags of that dirt along the coastline.

The worker, who declined to give his name, brushed off questions over whether those bags might be torn in another tsunami. “There isn’t going to be another tsunami,” he said.

Ken Belson and Shreeya Sinha contributed reporting from New York.


Quake Update : 7.0 Sea Quake Shakes Tokyo, but Causes No Damage

tsunami warning: Be careful to tsunamis #1583
Image by Nemo's great uncle via Flickr
tsunami marker #7728
Image by Nemo’s great uncle via Flickr

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck under the sea south of Japan on Sunday, shaking buildings in the capital but causing no apparent damage or tsunami. ABC  http://www.facebook.com/abcnews reports.

The quake struck near the uninhabited island of Torishima in the Pacific Ocean, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) south of Tokyo, and its epicenter was about 370 kilometers (230 miles) below the sea, the Meterological Agency said. It did not generate a tsunami.

Buildings in the Tokyo area shook, but no damage or injuries were reported. Express trains in northern and central Japan were suspended temporarily for safety checks but later resumed.

No abnormalities were reported at power plants, including the crippled nuclear power plant in northeast Japan hit by the March earthquake and tsunami, public broadcaster NHK reported.

A massive earthquake and tsunami March 11 left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing. Japan, which lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” is one of the world’s most seismically active countries.

Source : http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/magnitude-70-quake-japan-tsunami-warning-15267916#.TwBv59TyDvo

2004 Tsunami : What did we learn from Nature and ourselves? A case for groups like NAEE…

Phuket tsunami signal
Image via Wikipedia

“Teachers and schools could play a role in increasing local communities’ ability to deal with disasters”. Yes, indeed, but need to be supported to engage with adequate resources – the importance of groups such as NAEE – http://twitter.com/#!/NAEE_UK

Thais and foreigners gathered in six tsunami-hit provinces 26 December to commemorate the anniversary of the deadly giant waves that ravaged the Andaman coast seven years ago, killing thousands and shocking the world. From ‘The Nation’ newspaper | http://twitter.com/#!/LearnFromNature and http://twitter.com/#!/NAEE_UK

Religious rituals were conducted at many sites in dedication to those who lost their lives.

“I miss my dad. I hope such a disaster will never happen again,” nine-year-old Hatchai Noophom said. His father was among at least 8,000 killed or lost in Thailand.

Grief still filled the air as relatives of the victims laid down flowers at the Tsunami Wall of Remembrance in Phuket yesterday.

The anniversary also brought attention to the need for disaster preparedness.

In Phuket’s Kathu, provincial officials and others held activities to raise public awareness about disasters and to push for better preparation.

At a seminar there, Foundation of National Disaster Warning Council chairman Dr Smith Dhammasaroj said curriculum material would ensure that students from upper |primary levels learn about disasters including tsunamis, landslides, forest fires and floods.

“Students should be encouraged to study about disasters that often |hit their area because the knowledge will raise their level of preparedness,” the disaster official said.

But Assoc Prof Dr Seree Supharatid, who heads the Centre on Climate Change and Disaster |at Rangsit University, said curricula so far failed to include disaster content. “This is despite the fact that the tsunami hit hard seven years ago.”

Seree said learning materials should equip children with survival skills, and an awareness that in times of crisis there would be no electricity or cell-phone signals to rely on.

Dr Amornwich Nakornthap, an academic adviser to the Quality Learning Foundation, said teachers and schools could play a role in increasing local communities’ ability to deal with disasters.

In Ranong, provincial disaster prevention and mitigation chief Chasan Kongruang said the early-warning system was comprehensive now following the 2004 tsunami. “If giant waves are to hit again, we should be able to avoid huge losses.”

He added that evacuation drills had also been conducted to ensure locals knew where to run for safety in times of emergency.

Source : http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/2004-Tsunami-remembered-amid-debate-on-disasters-30172701.html

Japan earth updates : the quake, tsunami and aftermath

Japan is reeling after the region northeast of Tokyo was hit by the biggest earthquake since the temblor that devastated the port city of Kobe in 1995.

Buildings were also damaged in Tokyo amid reports of injuries, and airports were closed as well as some rail services. Office buildings were evacuated and the suspension of all mobile phone networks added to the impression of panic and chaos.

A massive 8.9 magnitude quake hit northeast Japan on Friday, causing many injuries, fires and a four-metre (13-ft) tsunami along parts of the country’s coastline, NHK television and witnesses reported. There were several strong aftershocks and a warning of a 10m tsunami following the quake, which also caused buildings to shake violently in the capital Tokyo.

TV pictures showed a vast wall of water carrying buildings and debris across a large swathe of coastal farmland. Public broadcaster NHK showed flames and black smoke billowing from a building in Odaiba, a Tokyo suburb, and bullet trains to the north of the country were halted.

Source: http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2011/03/11/511441/japan-braces-for-the-big-one/

The monster 8.9-magnitude earthquake which hit Japan was the country’s biggest ever and the seventh largest on record, according to US Geological Survey data.


he Japanese archipelago is located in an area where several continental and oceanic plates meet. This is the cause of frequent earthquakes and the presence of many volcanoes and hot springs acrossJapan. If earthquakes occur below or close to the ocean, they may trigger tidal waves (tsunami).

Historic earthquakes

Many parts of the country have experienced devastating earthquakes and tidal waves in the past. TheGreat Kanto Earthquake, the worst in Japanese history, hit the Kanto plain around Tokyo in 1923 and resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 people.

In January 1995 a strong earthquake hit the city of Kobe and surroundings. Known as the Southern Hyogo Earthquake or Great Hanshin Earthquake, it killed 6,000 and injured 415,000 people. 100,000 homes were completely destroyed and 185,000 were severely damaged.

Earthquake measurement

The Japanese “shindo” scale for measuring earthquakes is more commonly used in Japan than the Richter scale to describe earthquakes. Shindo refers to the intensity of an earthquake at a given location, i.e. what people actually feel at a given location, while the Richter scale measures the magnitude of an earthquake, i.e. the energy an earthquake releases at the epicenter.

The shindo scale ranges from shindo one, a slight earthquake felt only by people who are not moving, to shindo seven, a severe earthquake. Shindo two to four are still minor earthquakes that do not cause damage, while objects start to fall at shindo five, and heavier damage occurs at shindo six and seven.


Fear for islands as whole of Pacific placed on alert

The tsunami set off by Japan’s major earthquake is currently higher than some Pacific islands which it could wash over, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said today.

“Our biggest concern is the Asia and Pacific region, where developing countries are far more vulnerable to this type of unfolding disaster. The tsunami is a major threat,” Paul Conneally, spokesman for the Federation, the world’s biggest disaster relief network, told Reuters in Geneva.

“At the moment, it is higher than some islands and could go right over them,” he said.

* The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii widened its tsunami warning to include most of the Pacific Ocean region.

The warning issued at 0730 GMT follows a massive earthquake that has struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. It includes russia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific coast of South America.

The alert was later widened to include the western coast of the United States and Canada from the Mexican border to Chignik Bay in Alaska.

Sirens were sounded in Honolulu alerting people in coastal areas to evacuate. The authorities in the US state, which has been deviated by tsunamis in the past, have well-drilled procedures in the case of alerts. Many of the holidaymakers in Hawaii now facing the tsunami warning are from Japan.

* Russian authorities evacuated some 11,000 residents from Pacific islands in anticipation of tsunami waves unleashed by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off Japan’s northeastern coast.

The regional emergency officials said that the tsunami could hit several coastal towns and villages on four Pacific islands, which the Soviet Union seized from Japan in the final days of the World War II. The islands lie as close as six miles (10 kilometers) to Japan’s Hokkaido island.

The first tsunami wave was 50 centimeters (1 foot 8 inches) when it reached the village of Malo-Kurilks, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Authorities on the Kamchatka Peninsula further north said the tsunami posed no danger to the area.

Kamchatka, which juts into the Pacific, is studded with active volcanoes, some of which were spewing gases to a height of up to 5,800 meters (over 19,000 feet) Friday, prompting authorities to issue warning to planes in the area. Kamchatka volcanoes are part of the “Ring of Fire” string of volcanoes encircling the Pacific.


China’s state media is reporting that a moderately strong earthquake in the southwest toppled more than 18,000 houses and apartment buildings.

Yesterday’s earthquake left 25 dead in a mountainous area in Yunnan province, near the border with Myanmar.