It happened again. Just about a month ago, I wrote an article about the Great East Japan Earthquake. Few weeks later, Japan was hit with yet another earthquake. This time the Kyushu region was victimized, experiencing multiple earthquakes one after another. The worst one recorded on April 16th had a magnitude of 7.0.
The death toll has luckily stopped at 49 for the moment. Though the earthquake did not take away as many lives as other earthquakes have in the past, many buildings were severely damaged. More than 16,000 people in Kumamoto Prefecture alone lost their homes due to the earthquake and landslides that followed it. Important historical buildings such as the Kumamoto Castle, a very well known castle in Japan, were also destroyed. Considering the fact that Japan is known for encountering many typhoons, tsunamis, and earthquakes each year, Japan has developed different methods in order to combat these natural disasters. Why then were so many buildings affected?
There are a couple of points to consider when exploring this question. First of all, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 is a very big deal. Though earthquakes at this level are occurring more often, it is not very common. An earthquake this severe is especially rare in the Kyushu region. People in Kyushu are well prepared for typhoons as they are hit with extreme ones each year. However, it is most likely that no one ever imagined the possibility of an earthquake taking their homes away the way it did. No one was prepared. It is a miracle that only 49 people died. Second of all, the multiple earthquakes that struck Japan passed everyone’s expectations in many ways. In Japan, there is a law that was created regarding specific requirements that all buildings in Japan must meet. In general, this law states that all buildings are to be build so that it can withstand a certain magnitude once. No one who took part in creating this law probably thought about the possibility of many severe earthquakes hitting the same area again and again in a short amount of time. Starting from the very first earthquake, the Kyushu region has experiences more than 1,000 earthquakes over the past few weeks. Even if buildings were standing when the first earthquake came, the multiple earthquakes following it has weakened and damaged buildings beyond repair.
Currently, 30,000 people in Kumamoto are living together in schools, gyms, and community centers. Even though it has already been a few weeks, conditions have not improved at all in many places. Every day essentials are finally being handed to some people, but there are still places where there are not enough water supplies. Sanitary conditions are not the best, and there has been cases reported of people getting symptoms similar to food poisoning. With summer right around the corner, it is quite possible for people such as the elderly and young to die from dehydration. Donation systems have finally been set up, and any kind of donation will definitely help these people recover.
It may be because many countries are busy solving their own problems; however, it seems as though the issue of climate change is currently not being addressed as much as it used to be a couple months ago. Not only did Japan experience earthquakes, Ecuador experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the same day Kyushu was shaken by the earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0. Natural disasters are happening everywhere. It almost seems as though the earth is warning us that the end is near. The climate is changing as we speak, and actions must be taken now.