Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan's quake

I have been sitting here wracking my brain for something, anything that is not earthquake related which is, undeniably, the new reality here in Christchurch.  I flicked the TV on for a bit of mindless company and saw an enormous fire engulfing an oil refinery in eastern Japan following a massive 8.9 magnitude tsunami-triggering earthquake.

I cannot believe my eyes.

Just as I'm calling Mr T through to watch Japan's state television coverage live, another window-rattling, crockery-chipping aftershock hits here.  What's going on? Seriously!

My thoughts turn to the wonderful Japanese USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team assisting us in our wasteland of a CBD, right now, combing through rubble looking for the missing.  They must be beside themselves to hear the news.

I imagine that many of the USAR teams that came to our aide, and have only just left, are on high alert, ready to mobilise again.  Amazing teams from Australia, the UK, the USA, China, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand - I hope I haven't missed any - joined our fabulous New Zealand crews.  It is exhausting, painstaking, dangerous work.  They are incredible and, unfortunately, they are needed again.

I am overwhelmed by the amount of seismic activity around the world in the past six months.  No wonder some cultures believe we have displeased the gods.  The world over, the earth is bringing us to our knees.

Oh and here's a kicker, I've just heard that one of Japan's nuclear reactors is experiencing problems with the cooling system that is supposed to activate when there's an emergency shut-down.  It's not working.

I think I'll tackle those mouldy school lunch-boxes after all.  We were allowed back into our girls' school this afternoon for the first time since the February 22 quake to collect their belongings.  It turns out neither daughter had eaten those lovingly packed lunch goodies.  That, at least, I can deal with.

Cherry Blossom, Nagoya, Japan
Photo: Achim Runnebaum

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