Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earthquake Update- 24 Hours Later

A little over 24 hours ago, Japan, a land that has become near and dear to my heart, experienced a massive earthquake. It is the 5th largest ever recorded and the biggest Japan has ever felt. I told the story in an earlier post of how I experienced it, and am happy to say that no one I know, American or Japanese, experienced any injuries or damage. Things are sadly not that way up north.

We continue to have aftershocks. We've had over 130 since the big quake yesterday and we can feel some of them, some are strong enough to wake us up from sleep. It's a weird feeling, because they are just strong enough to make you dizzy for a second and second guess yourself. I'm very ready for that feeling to stop.

Yesterday 11 commercial planes had to land at Yokota, as the 2 main airports were closed. 1 of the airports reopened late last night, so 9 of them managed to be able to leave from here and continue on with their journey. 2 stranded commercial planes with a little over 500 people couldn't make it out last night and the passengers needed a place to stay, so we opened the community center/ballroom and they stated about 15 hours total before they could head back to a different but open airport to continue on their journey. I'm sure they are weary travelers, but thankful for a safe place to stay. I was unable to go volunteer at the center as I had Mallory with me, and Brett had been called in to work (he actually never left for the day). But our wonderful Yokota community sprung into action and they had to turn volunteers away as there were so many. That is heartwarming to hear. I also know that lots of help will be needed in various ways as relief efforts have just begun to get underway, and I will help in any way I can whenever I can. It's my duty as an Air Force wife, temporary Japanese citizen, and human.

This morning the news was regarding the damaged nuclear power plants. One did explode, but it was only the outer shell not the inner shell that houses the core. Some radiation escaped, but not a dangerous level that will effect us. The power plant is located up by the epicenter which is about 250 miles north and east of us. The prevailing winds are carrying most of the damage and radiation out to sea. We are really in no danger of the radiation, maybe an x-ray dose if that. This is what I have heard so far. I pray that they can contain the damage and not have a meltdown or any worse catastrophe, or that the winds don't shift into a southerly direction.

As for us, we are getting around fine, there hasn't been much if any damage in the area here so its a little bit business as usual. In fact, it is weird to watch the news and see horrific pictures of devastation only 200 miles away, but look out our window and see nothing here has changed. I'm thankful for that, belive me, but it is still an odd phenomenon. Our mail service is going to be a little rough until things get better. We may start experiencing blackouts because of the power plant accident, but we can handle that.

Tokyo in general is still in fairly bad shape. The airports are slowly coming back, the mass transit that was at a complete standstill yesterday is slowly coming back as well. They are inspecting all the rail lines by hand and walking all the miles of lines so that takes a massive amount of time.

So that is what is currently happening. The base is preparing for the US response by getting housing ready for those helping. Brett hasn't been called up for flying responsibilities. They will probably use him on the ground for plans and procedures. He is working all night tonight as I type this, and I am sure all of our military will be putting in many long hours here in the days and weeks to come.

All in all, we are completely blessed and God's protective hand is settling on our family in incredible ways. We are together, and we are safe. Mallory is, of course, clueless to any changes going on around us (although she did fall asleep in my arms as we were saying our prayers tonight- guess my list was a little longer than normal). Please continue to pray for the Japanese and the devastation currently. It is like nothing I've ever seen. It is heart breaking and overwhelming. Japan has been brought to it's knees, and the scenes of those hard hit areas bring tears to my eyes. But I know that "your knees are a great place to be when tears can't be held back." Also please pray for our military spouses, many of who have small children and are dealing with the stress of a natural disaster without their husbands home. As if the military community hasn't been an extended family, it is now even closer. Please pray for us that we can continue to have the strength to be the hands and feet for those around us, give aid to those who need it and help whenever possible. Pray for the wisdom of our leaders as they make decisions and for the men and women dealing with the nuclear reactors that they may stay out of harms way and have the knowledge and ability to contain and control that crisis.

I have to say it is humbling to see all the "we are thinking about you's/take care's/be safe's" on facebook, email and telephone. We feel very loved. Thank you for thinking of us. I will update more as things go on. For now, we love you and are so grateful for all your prayers and encouragement.

No comments:

Post a Comment