Reporting from Kesennuma, Japan— Structural engineer Kit Miyamoto was giving a speech in Japan on earthquake safety when this month’s record quake struck, giving him a front-row seat for the unfolding disaster and what steps might save lives next time.
"This disaster basically paralyzed the whole country," said Miyamoto, president of West Sacramento-based Miyamoto International, standing amid the wreckage in this battered coastal city. "We can learn a lot of lessons for California."
What worked, and what didn’t?
Although some of the lessons will take years to nail down, experts said some things stand out already. One problem, some said, was Japan’s overreliance on the massive sea walls that were favored by its politically powerful construction industry and that provided a false sense of security.
Read the rest of the story: Japan earthquake: Japan rethinks earthquake and tsunami safety.
Rescuers struggled to reach survivors on Saturday morning as Japan reeled after an earthquake and a tsunami struck in deadly tandem. An 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in Japan, set off a devastating tsunami that sent walls of water washing over coastal cities in the north. Concerns mounted over possible radiation leaks from two nuclear plants near the earthquake zone.
The death toll was in the hundreds, but Japanese media quoted government officials as saying that it would almost certainly rise to more than 1,000. About 200 to 300 bodies were found along the waterline in Sendai, a port city in the northeastern part of the country and the closest major city to the epicenter.
Thousands of homes were destroyed, many roads were impassible, trains and buses were not running, and power and cellphones remained down in the region. Japanese officials on Saturday issued broad evacuation orders for people living in the vicinity of two separate nuclear power plants that had experienced breakdowns in their cooling systems as a result of the earthquake, and they warned that small amounts of radiation could leak from both plants.
While the loss of life and property may yet be considerable, many lives were certainly saved by Japan’s extensive disaster preparedness and strict construction codes. Japan’s economy was spared a more devastating blow because the earthquake hit far from its industrial heartland.
Read the rest of the story: Quake and Tsunami Leave Wake of Destruction Across Northern Japan.
21 minutes ago a 7.9 Earhquake struck near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. Tsunami may occur and a warning has been issued. The Honshu area has been a hot bed of activity this month and this is the latest and biggest quake to hit the area.
Update: Fires have been reported across Tokyo and the Tokyo Metro subway is now stopped.
As many as 120 people remain trapped in a building in earthquake-devastated Christchurch on Thursday where more than a dozen Japanese students were studying when a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit the city on New Zealand’s south island Tuesday.
An urban search and rescue team from Japan has already joined other rescue workers to dig through debris at the CanterburyTV building that also housed the King’s Education Ltd. language school where many Japanese and other international students were studying.
Overnight Wednesday, four bodies were pulled from the rubble of the regional television building.
Read the rest of the story: Up to 120 trapped in N.Z. building where Japanese were studying.