My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan. Since the massive 9.1 magnitude quake (revised up from the initial estimate of 8.9) earthquake yesterday, they have suffered upwards of 150+ aftershocks - many of magnitude 6.0 and higher - and a devastating 23-30 ft tsunami that swept a path of destruction up to 6 miles inland.
The quake opened up a 250 mile long rupture in the ocean floor that is 100 miles wide and was so intense that it actually shifted the Earth's axis. The coastline of Japan has shifted 8 feet. Within hours of the initial quake, an Indonesian volcano erupted.
To make matters worse, one japanese nuclear power plant, Fukushima Daiishi, has been seriously compromised and four others are in distress. The japanese govenrment has declared five seperate nuclear emergencies. A 20km radius around the Fukushima Daiishi has been evacuated, and explosions have been reported. This map shows how close the reactors are to the quake's epicenter. Yesterday, in an attempt to keep the reactor from melting down, a cloud of radioactive steam was released, apparently to little effect. The government is passing out potassium iodine to the public in an attempt to shield their thyroids from the effects of any leaked radiation. They are now considering inundating the plant with sea water in an attempt to cool the core.
The tsunami rippled across the Pacific Ocean, eventually making it's way to Hawai'i and the west coast of the U.S., where a photographer was swept out to sea and the harbors of California's Crescent City and Santa Cruz were heavily damaged. The damage to California as a whole is in the $10 million range. There's a good deal of cleanup in the Golden State's future, but in the grand scheme, the U.S. really got off lucky.
Meanwhile, over in Europe the global warming alarmist corps piped up with their opinion of the cause of the disaster. Staffan Nilsson, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee of the EU, is attempting to claim that the earthquake was caused by climate change. Of course it was. Isn't everything? Nilsson's opinion was released mere hours after the quake:
"Some islands affected by climate change have been hit...Mother Nature has again given us a sign."Yes, because before man became a plague on the earth, there were no earthquakes, plate tectonics or tsunamis. Give me a break. Don't they realize that they delegitimize their cause when they attempt to blame everything that happens - from brain shrinkage to Bulgarian brothels suffering an economic downturn to this new theory on plate tectonics in the "Ring of Fire" - on global warming?
Global warming hysterics aside, Japan is suffering from a series of major disasters, both natural and, in the case of the nuclear reactors, man-made. Honestly, if Godzilla arose from the depths of the 250 mile long rift and started lumbering towards Tokyo, I wouldn't be surprised at this point. What is going on over there is already like something out of a big budget Hollywood disaster movie. Luckily, there is no 30ft lizard on the horizon, and the people of Japan are a hardy, resilient lot. The world community will offer as much aid as they are willing to accept, so there is a good chance that Japan will not just rebuild, but they will use these disasters to improve their infrastructure and take their society to the next level, like a phoenix rising.
In the meantime, we who look on from the other side of the globe can only offer our prayers and moral support to the people of Japan. Traditionally, the japanese govenrment has declined international aid in times of crisis, but this is a disaster of unprecidented proportions, so hopefully they will accept the aid of not just the American 7th Fleet which is stationed there, but also the aid of the international community at large. Even in this time of fiscal crisis, there is little doubt that average Americans will dig deep into their own pockets to give what they can for our Japanese friends.
Those who want to help can go to http://www.redcross.org/ and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. At this time, the Japanese Red Cross is not requesting blood donations from the American Red Cross. The best way to contribute is financially at this point. Give what you can, even if it is only raising your voice in prayer.