Sunday, April 17, 2016

Japan earthquakes: Dozens killed; 'race against the clock' to find survivors [UPDATED]

Heavy rains were expected through Sunday after Japan's Kyushu region was struck by twin earthquakes, hampering the search for survivors and forcing nervous residents into crowded evacuation centers.

At least 32 people have died in the latest Kyushu earthquake, according to Kumamoto Prefecture's disaster management office. The magnitude-7.0 quake hit early Saturday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the search for survivors amid piles of rubble as a "race against the clock," noting that bad weather had conspired with the devastating quake, its aftershocks and the threat of landslides to make a dire situation worse. Read More

Also see
Japan: Rescuers in desperate search for earthquake survivors--New
Ecuador earthquake: Death toll jumps to 238; more than 1,500 injured
'We seek the hand of God': Ecuador death toll rises as rescuers pick through the rubble--New
I live in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, also known as the New Madrid Fault Line, which "is a major seismic zone and a prolific source of intraplate earthquakes (earthquakes within a tectonic plate) in the southern and midwestern United States, stretching to the southwest from New Madrid, Missouri."

The last major earthquakes were in 1811 and 1812. There were three New Madrid earthquakes altogether, each with a magnitude of 7.5 or greater. These earthquakes were so severe that they caused rivers to flow backward; hurled furniture, snapped trees, and destroyed barns and homesteads; raised huge clouds of coal dust, mud, sand, and water that concealed the sun for days; and convinced the local inhabitants that it was the end of the world.

Seismologists are divided over the potential of the fault line to produce large earthquakes in the future. See The Great Midwest Earthquake of 1811. Since 1812, however, there have been frequent smaller earthquakes. One was strong enough to rattle the doors of my house and to tilt the floors. Every year a number of federal, state, and local agencies conduct training exercises in case of a major earthquake. Few of the buildings in the area are built to withstand a serious tremor. The more common natural disasters in the area are floods, ice storms, and tornadoes.

While some areas are especially prone to disasters, accidental and natural calamities can occur any where. Is your church prepared to respond in the case of a disaster? Does it have a disaster response plan?

No comments: