Archive for the 'Tsunami' Category

Japan Tsunami Disaster Anniversary

March 11th, 2012 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | No Comments »

A year ago today, a massive 9.0 earthquake battered Japan, followed by a lethal tsunami, ravaging fires, and nuclear power plant meltdown. Entire villages were wiped out, thousands of people were reported missing, thousands more were injured and left homeless, and more than 15,000 people were killed. In one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of Japan, the world watched in horror. Images from the devastated country made us all heartsick, and perhaps made us feel vulnerable to the power of nature—or at least aware of it.

The aftermath left a wasteland of once pristine and vibrant coastal communities. Though some restoration has occurred, there is obviously so much more to do. But for today, thousands of Japanese will pause from their daily activities to pay respects to the victims lost in the disaster.

Remains of a Home After the Tsunami

And how are the survivors doing a year later? According to The Telegraph, “In the worst-affected areas, the clear-up, let alone the recovery is far from complete. Ships stay stranded inland, cars sit where they came to rest on top of buildings.”

An article in the San Jose Mercury News reported, “Of course the scenes on TV were horrific,” said Dianne Fukami, president of the board of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, a former TV journalist who is producing a documentary about relief efforts by the Japanese-American community. “But when you stand in the middle of what used to be a neighborhood and turn 360 degrees and can’t see anything that resembles a house, it’s a different experience.”

It appears that Japan has a long road ahead to revitalization—to rebuilding structures and lives—and we are sending the survivors our respects today.

Honeymooners Survive Six Natural Disasters

April 25th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | 1 Comment »

by Victoria M. Johnson

Stefan And Erika Svanstrom of Sweden planned a perfect four-month long honeymoon… but Mother Nature intervened.  The couple wed on November 27, 2010 and a week later, with their infant daughter in tow, they set off for a 16-country adventure. “Our plan was to get a lot of sun and beach-life early in the trip, and experience nature and culture later in the trip. Some of the destinations were chosen for the diving, as we are both keen to go scuba diving,” Stefan said, “leaving plenty of time to explore.”

The Svanstroms left Stockholm in December and became stranded for a night in Munich, Germany due to a severe snowstorm, one of Europe’s worst blizzards. The newlyweds enjoyed China and Thailand, but in Bali, Indonesia, a relentless monsoon kept them indoors for days. Another natural disaster awaited in Cairns, Australia where a catastrophic cyclone forced them to join a group shelter with thousands of people. “Trees were being knocked over and big branches were scattered across the streets,” Stefan said. Once the family arrived in Brisbane, massive flooding had put much of the city underwater. The Svanstroms then narrowly escaped bush fires in Perth.

Flooding After the Cyclone in Cairns

Moving on, the family arrived in New Zealand, just after the 6.3 quake hit Christchurch on February 22. Their last ordeal was in Tokyo, where they experienced Japan’s largest quake ever recorded and the resulting calamitous tsunami. “The trembling was horrible… we saw roof tiles fly off buildings,” Stefan said. (He also survived the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in 2004).

The couple said the most emotionally upsetting experience during the trip had been the Japanese earthquake and its consequences. “Oh – we’re very grateful that nothing happened to the family and we think a lot about the people, particularly in Japan,” Erika said.

The Svanstroms returned to Stockholm on March 29, 2011 after an uneventful final stop in China. “Although we’ve had some bad luck, we still have our lives. Our thoughts are with those who couldn’t escape these disasters. In the end, we are very fortunate to be alive,” Stefan said. The family plans to continue their travels in the future.

Important Update: Relief Efforts for Japan

March 16th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

Today at 9:30 a.m. on my Grant Whisperer’s Blog Talk Radio Show, special guest Barb Larkin, CEO American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter, provided excellent details about the situation in Japan and also provided the valuable numbers below.

To find information about friends or loved ones in Japan go to:

Let me repeat that: If anyone you know is still waiting to hear about their loved ones in Japan, refer them to the above web site!

To text a donation text REDCROSS to 90999. The donation is $10 per text and will appear on your monthly bill or will be debited from your prepaid account.

For online donations go to: or call 1-877-727-6771

The recorded episode, Special Guest – Barb Larkin, Air Date March 16, 2011, can be listened to at any time.

Aftermath of Japan quake and tsunami

Barb talked about the disaster in Japan, what the Red Cross is doing to support the relief efforts, disaster fundraising, and how people can help. Barb Larkin is the CEO of the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter. Previously, Barb served as Director of Donor Services, Director of Development, and manager of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund at Community Foundation Silicon Valley. Barb has been an American Red Cross volunteer for over 16 years and is a trained Disaster Fundraising Officer. She is a member of American Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resources system having worked on several disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the San Bernardino wildfires, and Hurricane George.

Tune in to the Blog Talk Radio episode to hear about the relief efforts.

Japan 2011 Quake and Tsunami Update

March 14th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

10,000 people are now feared dead. As the heartbreaking news of the enormous loss of life unfolds, strong aftershocks (6.2 magnitude) continue to strike and the nuclear power plant meltdown threats increase (though officials insist the reactors remain intact). To add further to the images of desolation, Japan now has hundreds of thousands of survivors without food, water and electricity. As if all this wasn’t enough to break the spirit, tsunami warnings broke out again in the Fukishima area.

A Collapsed Home After the Japan Quake and Tsunami

Reports have come out that the village hardest hit, Minamisanriku, had residents who received a 30-minute warning between the 8.9 earthquake and the tsunami. Thirty minutes to recover from a violent shaking of the earth, gather loved ones, and escape. Those residents then tried to flee the village all at the same time, blocking roadways and becoming trapped. As families still wait to hear from loved ones, they can only hope and pray.

Aftermath of Catastrophic Quake and Tsunami

March 12th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

The situation keeps worsening in Japan. Not only did Friday’s quake and resulting tsunami ravage Japan’s eastern coast, but now 686 are confirmed dead and 9,500 people are missing from the coastal village of Minamisanriku. Authorities confirmed that only about 7,500 residents were evacuated from the village of 17,000 residents.

Man Devastated by Japan 2011 Quake and Tsunami

Officials are still evaluating the calamitous damage. Shaking from the 8.9 quake, the force of the 32-foot high raging tsunami, over a hundred aftershocks and fires. According to AOL News AP report, four whole trains are missing. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says, “Our estimates based on reported cases alone suggest that more than 1,000 people have lost their lives in the disaster. Unfortunately, the actual damage could far exceed that number considering the difficulty assessing the full extent of damage.”

Aided by emergency responders from dozens of countries, 50,000 Japanese troops have joined the rescue and recovery efforts. More than 215,000 people are living in temporary shelters in five prefectures (states). And more than 170,000 were evacuated from their homes due to the threat of radiation from a nuclear power plant malfunction.

Tragedy in Japan Continues

March 11th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

Earthquake, tsunamis, fires, aftershocks, and now a looming nuclear power plant disaster. Japan has been hammered in the last 24 hours. As the death toll rises and reports of over 700 hundred missing and thousands injured continues, we can only imagine what the survivors are experiencing.

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) map on 11 March 2011 shows the predicted travel times of the tsunami.

The USGS reports that since the 8.9 earthquake hit Japan, at least 124 quakes magnitude 5 or higher have rattled the area. But it could be worse in the disaster-struck country. According to the New York Times, “from seawalls that line stretches of Japan’s coastline, to skyscrapers that sway to absorb earthquakes, to building codes that are among the world’s most rigorous, no country may be better prepared to withstand earthquakes than Japan.”

However, the quake has forced the closure of five nuclear power plants in Japan. Kyodo News reported at 2:00pm that radiation 1,000 times higher than normal is being detected at the Fukushima nuclear plant. interviewed, Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s just as bad as it sounds,” he said. But Steve Kerekes, spokesman for the U.S.-based Nuclear Energy Institute, said that while the situation was serious, a meltdown remains unlikely.

Japan Struck By Massive Quake and Tsunami

March 11th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

At 2:46 pm a magnitude 8.9 earthquake rocked Japan. This is Japan’s largest quake on record, and one of the largest ever recorded in the world. The epicenter was 231 miles northeast of Tokyo. The quake triggered a 32-foot tsunami that pummeled Japan’s eastern coast, killing hundreds of people as it swept away everything in its path. In the cities closest to the epicenter, Sendai and Honshu, hundreds of bodies were found with over 500 people reported missing and 627 people injured.

Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami

More than 50 aftershocks have been recorded, with tremors reaching as far as Tokyo. The photos of the region show catastrophic devastation. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a tsunami warning has been issued for parts of the U.S. West Coast in addition to the earlier warning for Hawaii and the western Pacific islands. A 7-foot tsunami reached Hawaii at 9:00 am but did not cause major damage. Officials warned that the waves could get larger. A magnitude 7.3 struck this area of Japan two days ago, causing no damage.

Nine Deadly Facts About Tsunamis

February 18th, 2011 -- Posted in Natural Disasters, Tsunami | 1 Comment »

The devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami claimed over 200,000 lives. It struck without warning to the victims caught in the disaster zone.  But tsunamis actually give many warning signals to those monitoring the oceans.  Sadly, the Indian Ocean did not have such monitoring systems.

A Child in Front of the Rubble That Was Her Home

1. Earthquakes, eruptions, and other major disturbances (such as a meteor impact) beneath the sea can cause tsunamis.

2. Tsunamis travel across oceans and build into enormous walls of water as they approach coastal lands.

3. Tsunami wavelengths in the deep ocean travel about 500 miles per hour.

4. Tsunamis generally pass unnoticed on the ocean surface.

5. Sometimes, the first part of a tsunami is a “drawback” where the sea drastically recedes from the shore. This is a deadly warning to get to higher ground.

6. The first wave may not be the largest wave to come.

7. A large tsunami may trigger numerous waves arriving over a period of hours, with considerable time between wave crests.

8. Tsunamis as high as 100 feet crashed into the surrounding islands after the cataclysmic eruption of Krakatoa, Indonesia, killing 36,000 people. But according to National Geographic News, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is the deadliest tsunami in history.

9. It is not possible to prevent a tsunami.