1896, Sanriku, Japan: A magnitude 7.6 earthquake rattled Japan, killing more than 26,360 people. In Tangshan, China, 1976, a magnitude 8.0 tsunami killed more than 255,000 people. 2004: The Indian Ocean experienced a 9.0 tsunami, its destruction killing more than 350,000 people. Just last year, Haiti lost 222,570 inhabitants because of a 7.0 earthquake (Brunner and Rowen 1), leaving the country in more trouble than they can dig themselves out of. Earthquakes can be predictable, and unpredictable. They can be harmless, or your worst nightmare. The consequences of natural disasters are unimaginable and it is impossible to fully comprehend the thoughts running through the heads of those left homeless or family less. On March 11, 2011, Japan’s coast was hit by a tsunami, its results affecting almost everywhere in the world.
“A tsunami (pronounced soo-NAHM-ee) is a series of huge waves that occur as the result of a violent underwater disturbance, such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption. The waves travel in all directions from the epicenter of the disturbance. The waves may travel in the open sea as fast as 450 miles per hour. As they travel in the open ocean, tsunami waves are generally not particularly large—hence the difficulty in detecting the approach of a tsunami. But as these powerful waves approach shallow waters along the coast, their velocity is slowed and they consequently grow to a great height before smashing into the shore. They can grow as high as 100 feet.”
“The exact location where the earthquake took place was 373 kilometers (231 miles) northeast of Tokyo, and 130 km (80 miles) east of Sendai, Honshu which is in the Pacific Ocean.” Honshu is one of Japan’s islands, and just so happens to be the biggest. Although Japan received the largest waves and the most significant amount of damage, other small islands, and countries on the Pacific Ocean also received abnormally sized waves; were told to get to higher ground, and away from the shoreline. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to warn people about a natural disaster and expect them all to understand and take action in time.
Just around ten minutes before the tsunami hit, the city of Sendai was advised to take refuge, and fast (Japan earthquake/tsunami 3). Unfortunately that was much too late. People were seen speeding away from the incoming water, and scurrying to escape the rivers that their streets were becoming. From higher grounds, videos were taken of the incoming waves. Houses were engulfed, furniture floating along through murky water, passing the occasional stop sign and traffic light. The murky water washed over the city, regardless of what, or even who it dragged along in its path. It seemed unreal how a town can be devastated in less time than it takes to brush and floss your teeth.
Japanese survivors were discouraged after seeing their neighborhoods turn into junk yards and their hard work torn into pieces as easily as a thin sheet of origami...