Tag Archive: Earthquake

Dec 26 2014

Christmas Earthquake & Tsunami Remembered

On December 26, 2004 at 00:58:53 UTC an 9.3 earthquake deep in the Indian Ocean centered just off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggered a massive tsumani that wiped out the coast line of that island and effected 14 other nations in Southeast Asia and Africa. It is estimated to have killed over 250,000 people but the real death toll will never be truly known. It was still Christmas in New York City, when word started trickling in about the devastation.

Ten years later, much of Indonesia and the region has bounced back but for many the scars still remain and they still mourn.

People across Southeast Asia gathered along the shores of the Indian Ocean on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the devastating tsunami of 2004.

One of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history, it killed 230,000 people and displaced millions in 12 countries.

Services were held to remember the dead in countries including Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. Moments of silence were planned in several locations to mark the exact time the tsunami hit.

“I cannot forget the smell of the air, the water at that time … even after 10 years,” Teuku Ahmad Salman said at a prayer service attended by thousands of people in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Sobbing, the 51-year-old said: “I cannot forget how I lost hold of my wife, my kids, my house.”

He said he refused to believe for years that his family had died, but eventually gave up looking for them.

There are some excellent before and after pictures in this article by Margaret Munro in the National Post:

Huge waves washing boats, vehicles, trees and bodies up streets and hillsides. Desperate parents and families searching for children and relatives who had been swept away. Heart-breaking images of missing tourists, last seen smiling under sunny skies and palm trees.

The Boxing Day tsunami off the Indonesian coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26, 2004 was one of the world’s worst disasters.

A magnitude 9.1 earthquake had unzipped a 1,300-kilometre subduction zone, heaving the sea floor and generating killer waves that took almost a quarter of a million lives (more than 230,000) in 14 countries.

Scientists knew the quake had occurred – it was picked up on seismographs half a world away – and suspected a tsunami was racing across the Indian Ocean. But there was no effective way to warn communities so people could head to higher ground, even though in some regions it took hours for the giant waves to arrive.

Jan 18 2013

Haiti: Three Years Later

On Jan 12, 2010, a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti. The quake alone killed an over 300,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. Ten months later a cholera epidemic broke out that has taken nearly 8,000 more lives. More than $9 billion has been donated from the public and private sectors to help rebuild. Yet three years later, there are still nearly 300,000 Haitians living in tents, the cholera epidemic is barely under control and the infrastructure is still a shambles.

‘Lack of national plan’ heightens struggle to rebuild unstable Haiti

by Mike Tran, The Guardian

Political instability, natural disasters and a cholera epidemic, plus a confused aid effort, mean there is still work for Haiti to do

For Father Kawas, who co-ordinated emergency response efforts in 2010 (video), several reasons lie behind the continued existence of tent cities where people swelter during the day and are soaked by evening rains.

But the main one is the government’s inability to acquire land from powerful families around the capital. “I think it’s difficult to rehouse these people because most of the land surrounding Port-au-Prince belongs to very powerful families and those families don’t want to give the land to the state to rehouse people. It’s a very big problem because those families are very powerful and they have many political resources so they can influence the decisions of the state.” [..]

Poverty was cited by Father Kawas as another reason why so many people remain homeless. “They don’t have enough money to rent a house, or to rebuild a house,” he says. “It is difficult for them because most of them don’t work, they have no jobs. NGOs cannot do everything. They cannot rehouse all the people in Haiti.” [..]

Haiti’s state institutions were fragile even before the earthquake and were weakened by the disaster. The Haitian government has received little in reconstruction funds as foreign governments have had little faith in its ability to handle the relief effort. That the government has yet to draw up a national reconstruction plan speaks volumes.

“The big problem for NGOs and for many actors in Haiti is the lack of a national plan for construction,” says Father Kawas. “The government speaks about that but right now, we don’t see this plan and we know that this plan is very important for the country, for the development of the country. For example, the NGOs are working separately, in isolation, and there is no co-ordination, there is no plan [from] the government, so for me it’s a real problem for the development of the country. And the international organisations do the same.”

Father Kawas acknowledges the difficulties in trying to strengthen his government, but urged aid agencies to provide training for public employees, as well as to help parliament and political parties.

“In Haiti, the public administration does not function, it’s a real problem. The government cannot put in practice its policies if the public administration does not function so it’s a real necessity for foreign governments to help the Haitian government find solutions.”

Haiti’s earthquake generated a $9bn response – where did the money go?

by Vijaya Ramachandran, The Guardian

Uncertainty about the scale and outcome of spending following Haiti tragedy highlights need for greater transparency

Saturday (Jan 12, 2010) marked the third anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti that claimed between 230,000 and 300,000 lives. The grim landmark has prompted much discussion about the struggles surrounding reconstruction and also some hope about what may come next.

Most observers agree that the international response to the quake was overwhelming. Haiti received an unprecedented amount of support: more than $9bn (£5.6bn) in public and private donations. Official bilateral and multilateral donors pledged $13bn and, according to the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti, almost 50% of these pledges ($6bn) have been disbursed. Private donations are estimated at $3bn.

Where has all the money gone? Three years after the quake, we do not really know how the money was spent, how many Haitians were reached, or whether the desired outcomes were achieved. In a policy paper published in May, and in a more recent blogpost, we unpacked the numbers, many of which came from the UN Office of the Special Envoy.

Three Years After the Quake, How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster

Three years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, we’re joined by Jonathan Katz, author of “The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.” The earthquake on January 12, 2010, ultimately resulted in the deaths of roughly 300,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless in what was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. A cholera epidemic, widely blamed on international U.N. troops, killed almost 8,000 people, making more than half a million sick. Today, despite pledges of billions of dollars in international aid, rebuilding has barely begun, and almost 400,000 people are still living in crowded camps. After four years of reporting in Haiti, Katz joins us to discuss where the reconstruction effort went wrong

Part 2: Jonathan Katz on How the World Came to Save Haiti After Quake and Left Behind a Disaster

There is hope for Haiti, despite what the critics say

There is still a long way to go.

Mar 11 2012

Remembering Japan

A Peaceful Journey To The Other Side

Japan Finds Story of Hope in Undertaker Who Offered Calm Amid Disaster

KAMAISHI, Japan – Amid the grief of finding her mother’s body at a makeshift morgue in this tsunami-ravaged city last March, Fumie Arai took comfort in a small but surprising discovery. Unlike the rest of the muddied body, her mother’s face had been carefully wiped clean.

Mrs. Arai did not know at the time, but the act was the work of a retired undertaker well-versed in the ancient Buddhist rituals of preparing the dead for cremation and burial. The undertaker, Atsushi Chiba, a father of five who cared for almost 1,000 bodies in Kamaishi, has now become an unlikely hero in a community trying to heal its wounds a year after the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged much of Japan’s northeastern coast a year ago Sunday.

“I dreaded finding my mother’s body, lying alone on the cold ground among strangers,” Mrs. Arai, 36, said. “When I saw her peaceful, clean face, I knew someone had taken care of her until I arrived. That saved me.”

An small act of kindness in the midst of chaos. Blessed Be

The Wheel Turns

Aug 23 2011

Earthquake: Mother Earth Shifts Her Mantle

Since the tremor has now taken over the news. This is a hint that Mother Earth is annoyed with us and wants us off her rock, making it a good reason to fund the space program.

My commute home will suck and there is no bar at the Ferry terminal anymore.

5.9-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes East Coast

An earthquake sent tremors from the nation’s capital to New York City and New England Tuesday afternoon, the result of what officials said was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake based in Virginia.

Buildings throughout major metropolitan centers in the northeast were evacuated after the quake, and tremors were felt as far north as Concord, N.H., and as far south as Hampstead, N.C., with some limited reports of damage reported near the quake’s epicenter in Virginia, where a nearby nuclear power plant was taken offline.

The streets of downtown Washington filled with thousands of people on Tuesday afternoon as buildings from the capital to the White House were evacuated.

A mild shake and tremble could be felt shortly before 2 p.m. The movement lasted no more than 30 seconds in downtown Washington.

Obama was on the golf course but unknown if his game was interrupted.

Jun 25 2011

Japan Stupid Is As Stupid Does

With the resignation of Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the horizon the political idiots who run this country are maneuvering to further their political power while Northeast Japan is mired in a recovery so slow that only time-lapsed photography might notice any movement. People left homeless are forced to endure a lottery system to be placed in temporary housing. TEPCO continues to misinform and lie about the health risks posed by the disaster at the Daiichi-Fukushima power plant but what the real condition of the four damaged plants remains a mystery even though they keep insisting there will be completely transparent  

Taking a page from America’s Republican party the Liberal Democratic Party has decided to hold hostage the implementation of a third supplementary budget or an extension of the current Diet session needed to  pass funding for earthquake recovery.  

So, as these fools argue over when Kan will resign and who will fill the power vacuum people in the stricken area continue to suffer from a lack of recovery effort and a complete lack of leadership from any quarter.

Mar 17 2011

A Beautiful Day To Die

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The earthquake and the tsunami and the nuclear event have finally shut me up.  I haven’t been able to write. I don’t have anything clear or witty or insightful or clever or new to say about these events.  I am avoiding the talking heads on TV, and I’m reading as little as possible about the event on the Internet, and I’ve been absent from this blog. Why? Because I have no confidence at all that what I’d hear or read would be the truth. And I have the dreadful thought that the situation in Japan is far, far worse than what we are being told. I have no proof for the last sentence other than the plethora of contradictions I find in the news stories. And a tight feeling in my heart and chest and stomach that warns of impending, large scale disaster. I hope I’m wrong about this, but alas, I don’t think I am.

Mar 13 2011

Meltdowns: From Bad to Nightmare

After an earthquake that has now been upgraded by Japanese officials to a magnitude 9.0, with a tsunami that has devastated the northeastern region of the main island of Japan, it is now becoming evident that there are two nuclear reactors that may be in meltdown which would be a nuclear disaster on an unimaginable scale. The Japanese government has ordered the evacuation of nearly a quarter of a million people from the area and state of emergency has been declared for the area because of the damage to five nuclear reactors after two of the units lost cooling ability.

Japanese Scramble to Avert Meltdowns as Nuclear Crisis Deepens After Quake

TOKYO – Japanese officials struggled on Sunday to contain a widening nuclear crisis in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and tsunami, saying they presumed that partial meltdowns had occurred at two crippled reactors and that they were facing serious cooling problems at three more.

The emergency appeared to be the worst involving a nuclear plant since the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago. The developments at two separate nuclear plants prompted the evacuation of more than 200,000 people. Japanese officials said they had also ordered up the largest mobilization of their Self-Defense Forces since World War II to assist in the relief effort.

On Saturday, Japanese officials took the extraordinary step of flooding the crippled No. 1 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 170 miles north of Tokyo, with seawater in a last-ditch effort to avoid a nuclear meltdown.

Then on Sunday, cooling failed at a second reactor – No. 3 – and core melting was presumed at both, said the top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. Cooling had failed at three reactors at a nuclear complex nearby, Fukushima Daini, although he said conditions there were considered less dire for now.

Japanese authorities rush to save lives, avert nuclear crisis

Sendai, Japan (CNN) — Japanese authorities are operating on the presumption that possible meltdowns are under way at two nuclear reactors, two days after a massive earthquake, a government official said Sunday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano added, however, that there have been no indications yet of hazardous emissions of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

The attempts to avert a possible nuclear crisis, centered on the Fukushima Daiichi facility in northeast Japan, came as rescuers frantically scrambled to find survivors following the country’s strongest-ever earthquake and a devastating tsunami that, minutes later, brought crushing walls of water that wiped out nearly everything in their paths.

Edano told reporters there is a “possibility” of a meltdown at the plant’s No. 1 reactor, adding, “It is inside the reactor. We can’t see.” He then said authorities are also “assuming the possibility of a meltdown” at the facility’s No. 3 reactor.

How the Japan Earthquake Shortened Days on Earth

The massive earthquake that struck northeast Japan Friday (March 11) has shortened the length Earth’s day by a fraction and shifted how the planet’s mass is distributed.

A new analysis of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan has found that the intense temblor has accelerated Earth’s spin, shortening the length of the 24-hour day by 1.8 microseconds, according to geophysicist Richard Gross at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Gross refined his estimates of the Japan quake’s impact – which previously suggested a 1.6-microsecond shortening of the day – based on new data on how much the fault that triggered the earthquake slipped to redistribute the planet’s mass. A microsecond is a millionth of a second.

“By changing the distribution of the Earth’s mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused the Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds,” Gross told SPACE.com in an e-mail. More refinements are possible as new information on the earthquake comes to light, he added.  

Japan Earthquake Alters Coast Line, Changes Earth’s Axis

Geophysicist Kenneth Hudnut, who works for the U.S. Geological Survey, told CNN that the quake moved part of Japan’s land mass by nearly 2.5 meters.

Experts say that the huge shake, caused by a shift in the tectonic plates deep underwater, also threw the earth off its axis point by at least 8 centimeters.

This is may well be worse than Chernobyl by magnitudes.

Mar 11 2011

8.9 Magnitude Earthquake in Japan

This is just coming in now that a major earthquake has struck the Northeast of Japan at 2:46 p.m. local time (0146 EST) with a tsunami. A tsunami warning has been issued for other parts of the region. Hawaii is under a tsunami watch.

Up Date: Al jazeera and other news agencies are reporting that there are 19 confirmed deaths.

The entire Pacific basin is under either a tsunami warning with some waves are expected to bee higher than some Pacific islands.

Nuclear power plants in Japan are shut down and there are no reports of leaks. Most transportation has been shut down.

Bullet train network is shut down and airports are closed.

There is a warning issued for another quake expected to hit Honshu.

State of emergency is declared at Japanese nuclear plants

Process for cooling reactor ‘not going as planned’ in wake of quake, administrator says

Japan’s top government spokesman and local administrators say emergencies have been issued at two nuclear power plants over cooling-system fears in the wake of Friday’s giant earthquake.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the nuclear power plant in Fukushima developed a mechanical failure in the system needed to cool the reactor after it was shut down after the earthquake. He said there was no radiation leak.

Japan earthquake and tsunami: fire breaks out at nuclear plant in Onagawa

A fire broke out in the turbine building of Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, on Friday after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake triggered a huge tsunami.

It was not immediately clear if there was a risk of a radioactive leak as a result of the fire at the plant operated by Tohoku Electric Power. Miyagi prefecture was one of the areas worst hit by the tsunami.

Tokyo Narita Airport Cancels All Flights Today After Quake

Tokyo’s Narita Airport, Japan’s main international gateway, canceled all flights for the rest of the day after the country was hit by the world’s strongest earthquake in six years.

About 13,800 passengers were stranded because of the shutdown, Ryoko Yabe, a spokeswoman for the airport said by phone. There was no visible damage to runways, she said. Tokyo’s Haneda airport, Asia’s second-busiest by passengers, resumed flights, the transport ministry said.

Hawaii orders evacuations in tsunami threat

(Reuters) – Hawaii ordered evacuations from coastal areas due to the threat of a tidal wave set off by Friday’s earthquake in Japan as a tsunami warning was extended to the whole of the Pacific basin, except mainland United States and Canada.

Authorities also ordered evacuation from low-lying areas on the U.S. island territory of Guam in the western Pacific, where residents there were urged to move at least 50 feet above sea level and 100 feet inland.

Roubini Says Earthquake Is ‘Worst Thing’ at ‘Worst Time’ for Japan Economy

Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the global financial crisis, said the earthquake in Japan comes at the “worst time” as the country struggles to lower its budget deficit.

“This is certainly the worst thing that can happen in Japan at the worst time,” Roubini told Maryam Nemazee on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown” in London today. “There will be fiscal stimulus to reconstruct but Japan already has a budget deficit of close to 10 percent of” gross domestic product and an aging population.

The Bank of Japan (8301) pledged to ensure financial stability after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Sendai, sparking a tsunami. Japanese stocks declined in Tokyo today. The central bank, which keeps its benchmark rate at zero, had last month said the world’s third-largest economy is set to recover from a fourth-quarter contraction.

The picture in the below news article gives clear idea of just how devastating this disaster is

Major damage in Japan after 8.9 quake

A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan’s history slammed the eastern coast Friday, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control.

Japan earthquake unleashes tsunami

Up to 19 people killed as tsunami causes major damage after 8.9-magnitude quake strikes off the coast.

A 10-metre tsunami hit Sendai airport in the north-east. Television footage showed people standing on the roof of the terminal building.

The tsunami roared over embankments in Sendai city, washing cars, houses and farm equipment inland before reversing directions and carrying them out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.

Thirty international search and rescue teams stand ready to go to Japan to provide assistance following the quake, the United Nations said.

Military airplanes were flying over the worst-affected areas to assess the need for rescue efforts.

Many people were reported injured after a roof caved in during a school graduation ceremony at a hall in east Tokyo, the fire department in the capital said, after the quake hit.

snip

Al Jazeera’s Marga Ortigas, reporting from Manila in the Philippines, said the military there had been ordered to help evacuate areas at risk on the east coast.

Several earthquakes have hit the region in recent days, including a 7.2-magnitude quake on Wednesday.

“Japan has been on high alert since the earthquake on Wednesday,” Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, following developments from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, said.

“Japan is very well equipped to deal both with the initial tremors caused by an earthquake: buildings are systematically built with allowances for sway so that they are less likely to fall down. Also coastal cities have long had tsunami protection measures in place.”

Friday’s quake struck at a depth of 24 kilometres, about 125 kilometres off the eastern coast, the country’s meteorological agency said.

The quake was the biggest in 140 years. It surpasses the Great Kanto quake of 1923, which had a magnitude of

7.9 and killed more than 140,000 people in the Tokyo area.

Northern Japan Suffers Major Tsunami Damage

TOKYO (AP) – Japan was struck by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot (4-meter) tsunami that washed away cars and tore away buildings along the coast near the epicenter. There were reports of injuries in Tokyo.

In various locations along Japan’s coast, TV footage showed massive damage from the tsunami, with dozens of cars, boats and even buildings being carried along by waters. A large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK.

Officials were trying to assess damage, injuries and deaths from the quake but had no immediate details.

The quake that struck at 2:46 p.m. was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan’s meteorological agency measured it at 7.9.

Live feed from Al Jazeera

More pictures below the fold

Cross posted at Docudarma

Jan 12 2011

Haiti: One Year later

Early in the evening a year ago, I was sitting where I am now writing a diary and browsing the Internet, thinking about dinner. My thoughts were abruptly interrupted by my cell phone’s emergency alert, the house phone ringing and my husband’s cell phone alerts beeping frantically. “Earthquake; Haiti; Lost contact with PauP” were some of the text messages that began flooding the screen of my cell phone. I can’t explain the reactions that this triggers, only to say that it makes me cold and shivery. It passes and what is now an instinctive secondary reaction takes over, check in with “emergency desk”, activate notifications to other “team” members to get their gear,etc. It is a check list I now have memorized.

A few hours later, we were on our way to the airport where we met up with the rest of our “assessment team” and headed for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It took another day to get into Port au Prince with what little we carried, thanks to the good will of a news organization that had a large helicopter, the only aircraft able to land at the incapacitated airport. The initial assessment was worse than I had seen in other disaster areas, 95% of the city was severely damaged, much of it leveled. A year later and currently in the midst of a Cholera epidemic that shows little signs of abating, there is some progress but hardly enough to ease the suffering of a devastatingly and chronically impoverished country.

A Look at Haiti, One Year After the Devastating Earthquake

MSF Report on Haiti: Despite Massive Aid Response, Significant Needs Remain One Year After Quake

MSF issues review of emergency response and current gaps in medical care; shelter, water and sanitation, and secondary health care challenges

Port-au-Prince/Geneva/New York, January 10, 2011 While overall access to basic healthcare has improved since the earthquake, the rapid spread of cholera across the country underscores the limits of the international aid system in responding effectively to new emergencies. International agencies must live up to the commitments made to the Haitian people and to donors by turning promises into more concrete actions, said MSF.

Urgent humanitarian needs must be met while long-term reconstruction plans are pursued. The overall health of the population and the ability to contain the risk of disease outbreaks depend on improving water and sanitation and ensuring that the one million people still living in tents have access to sufficient transitional shelter.

Haiti Earthquake Recovery One Year Later

After massive aid, Haitians feel stuck in poverty

By William Booth

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 11, 2011; 12:02 AM

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI – One of the largest and most costly humanitarian aid efforts in history saved many lives in the aftermath of last January’s earthquake but has done little to ease the suffering of ordinary Haitians since then.

As U.S. officials, donor nations and international aid contractors applaud their efforts – all the latrines, tents and immunizations – the recipients of this unprecedented assistance are weary at the lack of visible progress and doubtful that the billions of dollars promised will make their lives better.

Since the Jan. 12 quake, the roads are worse, electricity spotty and rice costs more. Carnival is being canceled again. There are still few jobs. President Rene Preval is missing from public view. Political paralysis grips the country. The results of the mismanaged, chaotic Nov. 28 presidential elections remain a mystery. After uncovering troubles with the conduct of the vote, a monitoring team from the Organization of American States is set to recommend that the government-backed presidential candidate be eliminated from the second round of voting, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Jul 12 2010

Haiti: 6 Months Later: Up Dated

Emergency response after the Haiti earthquake: Choices, obstacles and finance

Six months after the earthquake that devastated Haiti on 12th January 2010, this report describes the evolution of MSF’s work during what is the organisation’s largest ever rapid emergency response. It attempts to explain the scope of the medical and material aid provided to Haiti by MSF since the catastrophe, but also to set out the considerable challenges and dilemmas faced by the organisation. It acknowledges that whilst the overall relief effort has kept many people alive, it is still not easing some of their greatest suffering.

snip

The earthquake destroyed 60 per cent of the existing health facilities and 10 per cent of medical staff were either killed or left the country. MSF had to relocate services to other facilities, build container hospitals, work under temporary shelters, and even set up an inflatable hospital. With over 3000 Haitian and international staff working in the country, MSF currently manages 19 health facilities and has over 1000 beds available at various locations. The organisation has provided emergency medical care to more than 173,000 patients between January 12th and May 31st.

snip

Six months on, the medical provision for the majority of citizens has been significantly improved in general and some poor people who were unable to access healthcare prior to the disaster are now able to recieve care.