Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

As I watched the videos of the earthquake I was struck by one thing - the lights didn't go out. They didn't even flicker. Every video I've ever seen of an earthquake in California, the lights flickered.

I know it's a silly thing to note in the face of so much devastation, but I couldn't help but be impressed by the high quality of Japanese construction.

The story is still coming out, in drips and drabs, as Anderson Cooper just said. We can expect more devastation and higher death tolls.

No matter how well you build, the massive force of a tsunami is something that cannot be denied. Watching the video of the wall of water moving inland, picking up cars and flattening buildings, makes you feel pretty damn insignificant.

When we watched the devastation emerge from Haiti last year, we responded. A country so poor clearly needed our help. The Red Cross has set up their 90999 number for donations. Text JAPAN to that number to send $10. Convoy of Hope has a text line set up as well. Text TSUNAMI to 50555 to donate $10.

There are other charitable and disaster relief organizations taking donations. My concern is that fewer people will respond to this disaster than did Haiti. In part because we've seen so little improvement in Haiti and people may feel that their money won't get where it is needed. My other concern is that people will look at Japan, an economic power house, and think - they don't need our help. 

That won't be true, of course. This is the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history. Aftershocks as high as 7.1 have been recorded. For comparison, the quake in Haiti last year was 7.0. These aftershocks are major quakes in their own right. 

The Japanese people have a long way to go and much hardship ahead of them. On a more personal note, my company is getting ready to open an office in Japan. We just announced the hire of our first employee there yesterday and anticipated opening the office in April. Our new hire is fine and managed to get an email to us. He is shaken but unharmed. Where we go from here is unknown. 

My prayers go out to the Japanese people.

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