First, I want everyone to know we are alive, dry, and safe.
Friday at 2:46pm local time (JST) and 8.9 Earthquake shook mainland Japan. The quake was the fifth worst in the world since 1900 and the worst in the history of Japan. It occurred in the ocean, at a depth of almost 25 kilometers. The quake shook buildings more than 220 miles away, in Tokyo.
Here is a diagram I took from the Japan Meteorological Agency and altered so that the purple arrow represents where we live, with the red arrow pointing to the epicenter of the quake.
While the Earthquake was devastating, knocking over buildings and causing mass damage, that was not the only disaster. Minutes later, tsunami's began washing onto the shores of Japan. Boats, houses, cars, and people were washed away in the mass chaos.
|Notice that the wave is about to top the trees. It was more than 33 feet high in some areas.|
|Entire cities were washed away.|
|Not only has the water caused damage, many power plants and homes have caught fire.|
|Whirlpools formed where the waves crashed. They are caused by the massive amount of water and shape of the land underneath. When they are gone, there is no evidence that a whirlpool occurred in that area.|
About two hours after the Earthquake, we began getting Tsunami Warnings here on Okinawa. After a few calls from friends in low-lying areas who said they were being evacuated, announcements started on our base. We heard some in Japanese but were clueless as usual. Soon enough, the English announcements told us that the low-lying areas were being evacuated but we were nice and safe on our hill in the middle of the island. The tsunami was expected to be less than 6 feet high and hit around 530, then 6, then 630, etc. As far as we know, nothing worth reporting ever hit the island. We watched the tsunami hit Hawaii and California on the news. Luckily, it seems most places were more fortunate than mainland Japan.
The devastation in Japan is immeasurable at this point. People are without phones, unable to contact loved ones, and the death tolls continue to rise. This is my plea that you take a moment to reflect. Think about the daily stress that we carry, making us less thankful for the simple things like water and a phone to tell our loved ones we are safe. Forget about the time spent commuting to work that takes you away from your family, the burden of emptying the dishwasher, and the finances that seem to pile up.
Ask yourself what you would want someone to do were you experiencing this disaster.
Send your prayers, thoughts, and love to those who need it most in Japan.
If you are feeling compelled to do more than send your thoughts, donate to the Red Cross or text REDCROSS to 90999 for $10 to be added to your phone bill. Donate to the International Medical Corps or text MED to 80888 for $10 to be added to your phone bill. Donate to The Salvation Army or text JAPAN or QUAKE to 80888 to make a $10 donation to be added to your phone bill.