Posted by: GW7AAV | March 13, 2011

For Japan we weep

Japan has over 1.3 million radio amateurs and every school child learns early what to do in the event of an emergency such as an Earth Quake. Local authorities run regular drills and there are sirens to warn everyone of an impending quake. Nature is however an untamed beast and even the most disaster prepared country in the world was helpless in its jaws. Even the old Japanese favourite Godzilla looks like a pussy cat compared with what nature had in store for the Japanese people. 1,300 people killed or missing and billions of pounds worth of damage and the chances are it is not over yet. A nuclear emergency has been declared caused by the failure of cooling systems and the like at numerous power stations.

911 aside I have never been one to get emotional at what I see on TV but the sight and the scale of this disaster brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. One of the problems with modern living is we now see things as they happen on TV and with YouTube and Twitter it can become very personal. It also makes one feel somewhat impotent as we watch things unfold unable to do anything to help.

Personally I have always been fascinated by Japanese culture, but for most British people they are not our favourite nation. For many Brits whose grandfathers suffered at the hands of the Japanese in WWII the very idea of buying a Japanese car is abhorrent even today. Until recently I had friends who had been involved in building the bridge over the river Kwai or had spent time in Jananese POW camps. After hearing their experiences it is not hard to understand peoples feelings. Strangely less of us hold those same feelings for the Germans and would buy a BMW or Mercedes over and above a British car any day. I think at long last the British people in general can put aside those feeling and sympathise with a people we find hard to understand. Unfortunately this might be the only good to come from this disaster.

I think what has gone on should be a warning to us all. You cannot be too prepared for a disaster and you cannot predict what nature will throw at us. Just because we in the UK live somewhere that Earth quakes and tsunami are rare does not mean something similar might not happen here (or where ever you are). My advice is, be as prepared as you can and have a plan and don’t expect the authorities to help you out, in an emergency you may be way down their list. Now I don’t expect everyone to join their local RAYNET or EmCom but a grab bag of essentials should include at least a hand held VHF radio and some fully charged batteries as well as clothes, a toothbrush, matches etc. Now hope you never need it.

My heart goes out to the Japanese people, but if anyone has the ability to bounce back, rebuild and restructure it is them. Let us hope and pray that there is not more destruction around the corner. Hush Godzilla go back to sleep.

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