Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan earthquake and tsunamis

I was lying down with Theo this afternoon, half-sleeping, when I realized that my phone had been buzzing in my pocket far more than normal for the middle of the afternoon. I woke up to find that I had multiple messages from email and Twitter friends asking if I was OK.

I immediately had the idea at the time there had been an earthquake, but had no idea until I could get to my computer how powerful it had been. I've felt earthquakes here, but of course nothing that compares to the devastation in the pictures and video from Sendai and Tokyo.

We are in the far west of Japan, at least 1000 miles from the worst of the quake's devastation. Still, I've been answering questions and catching up with friends and family throughout the afternoon and evening as they wake up to the terrible news.

According to a public statement from US 7th Fleet, Ruth's ship had just pulled in this morning for a port visit in Malaysia, but has already prepared to get back underway so they can be ready to assist wherever they might be needed. I felt a bit cheated once I realized I was going to miss out on a videochat, but since I wasn't expecting to hear from her at all, that soon passed. I'm far more concerned now for the people of Japan and all over the Pacific rim who are likely to continue to be affected.

The base here in Sasebo has been affected very little. One ship that was in port is getting ready to get underway to respond to the disaster. Our sea level rise was predicted to be a half-meter or less, so I'm sure the ships that remain here have had to take precautions with their line handling, but our geography protects us from the tsunamis that hit Japan's Pacific coast.

Facebook and Twitter have been such a blessing today, as I've been able to get word to my loved ones quickly and get word from my friends in Japan who were affected by the quake. Thanks to all my readers and friends who have asked about us.

I've heard of Twitter's usefulness in other crises around the world, but this has really been the first time I've really seen its power firsthand in gathering and distributing information from areas hit by disaster. Even tonight I see people in Tokyo getting assistance with finding transportation or a place to spend the night. As a tweet that just passed across my screen noted, "I'll never bitch about Twitter again."

1 comment:

LindaWright said...

Very glad to hear that you all are ok.
Jim's mom, Linda