apan is a country whose populace are more prepared than about any other nation when it comes to earthquakes. Yet, even they are at the mercy of nature and its powerful forces, as seen in the March 11 quake, tsunami, volcano and now nuclear radiation leaks. Looking at images beamed around the world of that natural disaster, it was left to viewers to wonder how on earth can anyone prepare enough for such things.
In Japan, buildings are constructed to severe earthquake standards, cities have walls built around them to protect from high waves. People young and old are drilled often on what to do in case of trouble. Yet, in a quake the size of the one last Friday, they had only minutes to respond before they were hit by the tsunami.
Now, all we can hope is that most people who are still missing had the supplies, the wherewithal and the courage to survive.
As we grieve for the killed, injured and homeless in such incidents, we wonder if we are in any way ready for a natural disaster. The west coast of B.C. is in that same active fault zone and for years, we have been told to get ready for the Big One some day. Yet, seeing what a large earthquake did to such an aware and advanced nation, will we do any better?
Most people here probably don’t have 72 hours’ worth of food, water or other emergency supplies to fend for themselves in a disaster situation. A lot of Japanese didn’t either, as evidenced by empty grocery store shelves in places like Tokyo. It’s disheartening, yet it’s typical behaviour — people think it just won’t happen here.
There’s no point in living in fear, but when presented with such examples as Japan, New Zealand and Thailand, even a little bit of preparation has to be better than none at all.