Photo: Fairfax County International Task Force
On March 11 —just a few weeks after the Christchurch earthquake— Japan had experienced one of the worst earthquakes ever, registering at a 9.0 on the Richter Scale. An earthquake with that magnitude happens only once in 5 to 10 years. Shortly afterward, a devastating tsunami followed. This earthquake was so severe that it has been said that Japan shifted 8 feet (2.4 meters). Aftershocks have been as high as 6.0 on the Richter scale. The earth's axis moved 10 inches that day.
Not since World War II has Japan experienced such destruction. More than 2,000,000 households
are without electrical power and water. Over 10,000 have perished. The biggest hurdle this country will face is stopping the nuclear reactors from having a meltdown. Thousands of people as well as their pets have been displaced from their homes.
Countries Band Together
Countries from all over the world are uniting to help Japan in the midst of disaster. Many of the countries had landed on March 13 and will be deploying on March 14 at first dawn. These next hours are critical if there are any survivors to be found.
Some of the countries assisting Japan include:
- The United States has already sent a joint team of 144 rescue workers out there with 12 rescue dogs who will bark alert at the sight of any persons. One rescue team is from Fairfax County, Virginia, and the other is from Los Angeles County, California. Over 85 tons of equipment have been provided for this mission.
- Great Britain has sent a search and rescue team of 59 rescue workers, 4 doctors, 2 rescue dogs and 11 tons of equipment.
- Germany has sent 40 rescue workers and 2 rescue dogs through the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief. This agency is composed mainly of volunteers.
- France has over 100 from their country assisting Japan and an additional 11 from Monaco helping the country through their plight.
- Italy is standing by on word from the Japanese government on how they can help.
- China arrived with its rescue workers on Sunday morning.
- Australiahas deployed 72 rescue workers to Japan. It also has offered its field hospitals and victim identification personnel to Japan. Additionally, dogs will be en route as well.
- Singaporesent 5 rescue workers and two search and rescue dogs each. Many more rescue workers are on standby.
- South Korea sent 5 rescue dogs.
- New Zealand will be contributing 48 rescue workers to the search.
I am truly saddened and dismayed at what has happened to Japan and send them my sympathy, hopes and prayers during this tragic time.