Aftershocks in the wake of Sendai earthquake.
Image from the wikipedia Tohoku earthquake and tsunami entry.
It would seem bad luck comes in threes. It also comes in earthquakes, tidal waves and nuclear accidents. Even if you live under a rock you will have heard about the devastation Japan has experienced in the wake of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that occurred on Friday 11th March at about 14.46 local time. For donation information please see further below.
The earthquake happened about 45 miles east of the Tohoku peninsula, 20 miles beneath the pacific ocean. The quake was so violent it was felt for several hundred miles. I happened to be upstairs at school when the warning came in and everyone dove under desks as the building rocked for several seconds. The quake triggered a 10 metre-high tsunami that raced inland, wiping out entire towns, villages and communities [before and after photo here].
If that wasn't enough, the quake and tsunami cut off power to and severely damaged the number II nuclear power station in Fukushima, which workers are still trying to control. Thankfully, the situation looks a lot better than it did a few days ago, despite the leak of minute amounts of radiation.
Since the quake there have been hundreds of (after)quakes occurring all over Honshu, Japan's main island [see them all here]. Several have shaken my little wooden house, but thankfully not enough to do any damage at all. Touch wood. According to reports the air here in Nagano is showing traces of radioactive material from the plant, although it's so small it's not worth a second thought. Water supplies are also fine, and there is more than enough food and fuel for everyone, thankfully.
However, there are many, many people in and around the devastated areas who are not nearly so fortunate. If you've seen the news you can judge for yourself, but any donations of money or items would be greatly received and appreciated. Some people have lost their possessions, their houses, their business and their families... everything!
Please help Japan:
* Donations can be made via Amazon.co.uk and iTunes.
* British Red Cross Tsunami Appeal: www.redcross.org.uk/JapanTsuna
* Save the Children: www.savethechildren.org.uk
* Global Giving: www.globalgiving.co.uk
* American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief: http://american.redcross.org/
* Australian Red Cross: www.redcross.org.au
* Japan relief prints: buy here.
There is more than enough good information about the entire situation online, though unfortunately you will have to wade through some shockingly ridiculous media coverage.
*Before and after photos of a devastated community.
*Interactive map of earthquake origin and nuclear evacuation area.
*More than 700 more quakes have occurred since the Sendai M9.0. Interactive map here.
* British Embassy conference transcript from UK Chief Scientific Officer, 15th March.
* "Why a nuclear reactor will never become a bomb." Simple explanation for the uninformed.
* "Japan proves the safety of nuclear power."
*This is not Chernobyl.