Every now and then we are reminded of the power and fury of Mother Nature and Japan’s massive earthquake that could have more than 10,000 dead is another one of those reminders that we are sometimes at the mercy of this planet.
Just weeks ago, many were glued to their televisions watching the destruction of an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. It came only a year after tens of thousands were killed by a massive earthquake in Haiti and just a few years after the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami that killed a quarter of a million people in southeast Asia, especially in Thailand and Indonesia.
Canadians were quick to respond in the days following the earthquake and tsunami in southeast Asia and the killer earthquake in Haiti last year. Organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross spearheaded the local response as people responded to images they saw in their living rooms of total annihilation.
There is a fear that since Japan is one of the world’s wealthiest and most developed nations that people may not be willing to respond as they did to similar events in poverty-stricken nations like Haiti.
The fact is the scope and fury of the twin disasters has left a country facing destruction it has not seen since the end of the Second World War. Whole communities have been wiped off the face of the earth and Japan is going to need our help when it comes to providing food, water, medical care and infrastructure.
The disaster should also be a wake-up call for all Canadians in that it can happen here. While the earthquake risk is relatively minor in eastern Canada, it’s a threat that’s very real in British Columbia and while the chances of a major earthquake striking the Maritimes is low that doesn’t mean we are free of natural disasters.
The time is now to take another look at our emergency management plans just in case something were to happen closer to home and it would be a good time to dust off those plans and see just how effective they are. It can happen here and there are lessons to be learned from what has taken place half a world away.