Japan's devastation

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

Japan's natural disasters 3/11/11 - Earthquake and Tsunami

As I watch the reports from CNN today, March 11th 2011 I can't help but feel how powerless we truly are when nature wreaks havoc and creates such devastation. It brings back painful memories of other natural disasters that hit other regions of the world leaving behind death and destruction. Today, Japan was hit with the most powerful earthquake in its history registering an incomprehensible 9.1 on the Richter scale near Sendai, Honshu triggering a massive tsunami sweeping everything in its path away causing death and destruction in every direction. Tokyo was hard hit as well. There are accounts that some small towns and villages were completely washed away by the epic waves sweeping people, property and homes in its wake away with no chance of survival.

When you see the images in the safety of your own home half a world away you can't help but feel compassion and heartbreak for Japan and its people who are living through this horrific tragedy trying to survive and get on with life as best they can. I am deeply shocked and saddened by the frightful images of large massive waves sweeping up people and the homes they live in with a vengeance and hearing the screams of those who were swept away. Japan has strict building codes due to its history of earthquakes but this earthquake shook buildings so violently and for such long durations that some were literally coming apart as people were running to escape being crushed as they fell to the ground. The massive earthquake and tsunami striking Japan without warning is just another reminder of how powerful, unpredictable and devastating nature can be and if you happen to be there as its happening all you can do is try your best to escape it and run for dear life.

The country of Japan is trying to ensure the safety of its people, account for its missing, try to dispatch emergency relief and continue with rescue efforts for those in need, recover the dead and assess the devastation only 24 hours after the most powerful earthquake in its history hit with such fury. Japan has been hard hit with earthquakes throughout time and has become accustomed to them but this one has been a frightening and extremely devastating one. I remember watching the news reports when the frightening earthquake that struck Kobe, Japan on January 17, 1995 occurred and how devastating that was with over 6,000 casualties and property damage estimated at over 100 billion US dollar.

There are so many things that must go through your mind in the face of disaster and for those who are unfortunate to be part of one they must see their life flash before their eyes as they desperately fight for survival and the safety of those close to them. A parent's typical reaction is to protect their children and keep them safe for as long as they possibly can and ride it out. The sad reality is that not all survive such devastation as mother nature is much too powerful and we are so small in comparison to nature's mighty force.

Unfortunately as the days go by and the hardest hit areas are reached by officials will we learn of the death toll which surely is to rise. It is so sad watching these reports and seeing the horrors of this unfolding tragedy. There are reports that a passenger train in one of the hardest hit areas is missing and there are no confirmed reports at this time as to the fate or the amount of passengers on board.

The major concern among many is the cooling system failure and the potential nuclear leak at one of Japan's nuclear plants in Fukushima which was one of many shut down as a result of the earthquake. This is a real concern as Japan is already devastated with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami and now is possibly facing a nuclear radiation leak which would be a true nightmare scenario that would be far reaching and compound the devastation already felt.

In times of great crisis like this countries step up and offer all the support they can both financially and morally with words of sympathy and encouragement. Chapters of the Red Cross are usually the first dispatched to set up relief efforts in areas hit hard offering medical assistance, food, clothing and emotional support at a time that it is greatly needed.

I will pray for the people of Japan and all those affected by this terrible tragedy and I salute my nephew, Gregory Vaughan who is serving his tour of duty in Japan with the US Marine Corps. I recently heard he is ok and I pray he and his fellow marines are safe. They will most likely play a part in the relief and humanitarian effort in helping Japan through this real difficult crisis. I also pray for my facebook friend Maria and her 3 beautiful children that they will be safe and protected and spared the emotional hardships that so many will have to endure. May God be with all of Japan today.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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