I just got an email from a friend of a friend. John P. is stuck at the airport in Narita, Japan. Apparently the earthquake struck just as his plane landed. He's fine, but for over five hours he's been standing in the airport shoulder to shoulder next to thousands of others with no provisions. Hundreds (if not thousands) of victims lost their lives today, and the aftermath of this morning's 8.9 quake and tsunami will last for days, weeks, months, and years into the future.
Help! As members of a global community, we all have the ability and (I dare say) obligation to lend a hand to our fellow man. (Red Cross, World Vision) For some of us prayers are the most precious gift we are able to offer. Certainly financial gifts will be needed to restore that region. Some Americans will have an opportunity to travel to Japan and assist in the restoration. Whatever your situation, I urge you to do something right now.
Learn! I also want to remind you that most of the United States' population lives in seismically active areas. The US Geological Survey's website offers a lot of useful information. Check to see what the risk is in your area. (Remember that areas you travel to for business and leisure may be affected as well.)
Prepare! As we watch the recovery in Japan unfold, be reminded of the steps that you might take to reduce the panic, heartbreak, and devastation if this happened in your community. Take measures to quake-proof your home. Know (and train your family) on what to do during an earthquake. Prepare an emergency kit - with flashlights and other supplies you may need immediately after a quake or other disaster. Keep supplies on hand to ride out inevitable post-disaster shortages.
Plan ahead! Finally, when you travel, keep a few supplies right with you everywhere you go. I hope John had a bottle of water, a granola bar and a pen light in his carry on bag. I also hope he has a designated emergency contact here in the states. Although he was able to get some information back to the states, he may have had his only opportunity to call. His friends and family need to know who to contact here to check on him.
Functional Friday: Preparedness Project - Evacuation Bag
Preparedness at Night
Functional Friday: Go-Bag Part I - The Need