Tag Archives: earthquake


As of this writing, Saturday, August 27th, the Northeast coast of the U.S. is ready and waiting to see what Hurrican Irene does.  Many precautions have been taken, and people seem to be paying attention to the warnings that the authorities have given them to evacuate.  As early as Friday, New York City hospitals were transferring patients to other hospitals or home, if they were able to go,  as long as they are out of harm’s way.

The United States has seen its share of weather abnormalties this year – excessive rain in some parts, and extreme drought in the Southern and Midwestern states.  There’s too much rain in places, and too little in others.  As they say, “feast or famine.”  Last spring, there were tornadoes that devastated communities, and residents are just now beginning to rebuild.  Flooding occurred as a result of heavy snows melting from the mountains.  Another unusual type of disaster – the wildfires that ravaged thousands of acres in Texas and California.  Then, what about the “dust bowl” in Arizona?  Believe me, if you’ve ever lived in a desert area, you know what those dust storms are all about.   So, Mother Nature, what goes?

These are seasonal storms that make their way out of the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico and leave paths of destruction.  TODAY: MONDAY, AUGUST 29TH:  Irene has passed by the Northeastern coast, leaving approximately 21 dead;  and damage estimated at $7 billion.  Irene turned into a tropical storm late Sunday, leaving flooding behindd and possible spawning of tornadoes.  New Yorkers were relieved that it was not like the nightmare authorities feared.  According to today’s Ft Worth Star-Telegram, causes of deaths included water, falling trees, and electricity.  There will be many homes and businesses that must be repaired or rebuilt, but another big challenge is restoring power to the 4.5 million homes and businesses without power.  Travelers have been inconvenienced by delayed flights and other means of transportation.  The light at the end of the tunnel is that most of those involved in this area paid attention to the weather warnings and heeded their advice.

As the news and weather personnel instruct everyone, be prepared.  They are doing their job to warn us in the event of a natural occurrence.  We must do our part to be ready.  As advised, have a plan for your family, where you can go to escape the threat, and have your emergency supplies packed and ready.

  • A 3-day supply of fresh water.
  • Non-perishable food.
  • Important papers.
  • Cell phone and battery charger.
  • Flashlight, and candles in case of power outage.
  • Arrangements for your pets. Take them with you if possible.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Keep your car filled up with gas during threatening weather.

Here we go, complaining (naturally) about the terrible weather conditions that our nation has gone through this past spring and summer.  Then, I think about what our young men and women are going through, wearing all that heavy gear, as they fight their way in hot, dusty, dirty countries.  I feel sure they would love to be in the good old U.S.A., regardless of the threat of storms.  The kind of storm they battle every day is more fierce  than anything we can imagine.

This also brings to mind the horrible earthquake in Japan, and the struggle their citizens are coping with to rebuild parts of their country.  Haiti, another country that had a devastating earthquake, is still coping with the disaster that hit their land.  Again, what is going on with Mother Nature? How about giving Mother Earth a break?


Japan, the country that gave the world the word tsunami, has suffered tremendously at the hands of Mother Nature, first with an earthquake that measured 8.9, and then followed by a tsunami that contained 23 foot waves, and devastated much of the northeast part of the country.  If that weren’t enough to contend with, officials are now battling the threat of nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear plants.  The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami keeps climbing, as the last reports showed around 10,000 persons feared dead; thousands more are missing.  Hundreds of thousands of persons in Japan are struggling to find food and water.   

This has been like watching a bad horror movie, only it is real.  The U.S. Government, private aid groups, and American business corporations were all being mobilized Saturday to support rescue and recovery efforts in Japan.  The U.S. Military assistance operation, “Operation Tomodachi”, meaning “friendship”, was the name chosen by the Japanese.  USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, which includes a destroyer, cruiser, and combat support ship is headed to the east coast of Honshu to serve as a platform for refueling Japanese military and other helicopters involved in rescue and recovery. 

In regard to Japan’s nuclear problems – a meltdown means there has been a serious collapse of a power plant’s systems and its ability to manage temperatures.  A complete meltdown would release uranium and dangerous byproducts into the environment that pose serious health problems.  When there is a loss of power and damage to generators, cooling systems crucial to cool down nuclear fuel rods become crippled and unable to perform their function.  On Saturday, safety officials from Japan told the International Atomic Energy Agency that the release of radioactive material so far has been small; however, Japanese authorities have evacuated more than 180,000 residents within a 12-mile radius, and are distributing iodine pills to residents around the power plants involved.  Potassium iodide, in concentrated form, can help reduce the dose of radiation to the thyroid and thus the risk of cancer.  The Nuclear Regulatory Committee in the U.S. recommends that persons living within 10-mile emergency planning radius of nuclear plants be given the same dosage of concentrated potassium iodide. 

Although this is largest earthquake Japan has experienced, and the 5th largest in the world since 1900, Japan has routinely conducted earthquake and tsunami drills and probably is better prepared for this type of disaster than any other country.  Inside modern Japanese buildings are extra steel bracing, giant rubber pads and embedded hydraulic shock absorbers, making them the sturdiest in the world.  Building codes have long been much more stringent on specific matters like how much a building may sway during an earthquake.  Hopefully, lives were saved because of this planning.  Time will tell. 

The tsunami from Japan sent strong waves thousands of miles away.  Hawaii is thankful that there was no loss of life or injuries from the tsunami, but several hotels experienced waves pushed into their lobbies on the Big Island, and also there was damage to about 60 homes.  Further away, in Crescent City, California, a community that depends on the fishing industry, the tsunami caused approximately $17.1 million dollars of damage to the harbor and vessels, and about $4 million to private boats.  One young man from a community about 20 miles south of Crescent City, remains missing, when he was washed away by the waves. 

Aftershocks continue in Japan, making rescue and recovery even more difficult.  Many of these aftershocks measure 5 or greater.  Keep the citizens of Japan in your thoughts and prayers, as well as the brave people who always show up in times of crisis – volunteers from around the world that search, treat the injured, feed the hungry, and serve in ways we can’t begin to imagine.  Disasters always bring friends from afar, countries pulling together to help their fellow human beings.

Sources: NY Times, AP, Chicago Tribune, Ft Worth Star-Telegram


Tuesday, February 22nd, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the island nation of New Zealand, causing damage to its’ second-largest city, Christchurch, which has a population of around 400,000 persons.  This was an “aftershock” that followed a September 2010 earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.0.  At this time, there are at least 75 persons dead and hundreds still trapped.  

Search and rescue teams from the United Kingdom, Australia, United States and Japan are responding to offer aid in finding those still trapped.  These teams are experts at recovering trapped persons under structural collapse; emergency workers, doctors, engineers, and search dogs comprise these teams.  Google has launched a person finder on its website.  Their crisis response page lists emergency phone numbers, maps, and other resources.  This service was also offered following the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti. 

Some buildings survived the earthquake better than others, because of more rigorous building standards over the past five years.  According to the Christian Science Monitor, Graeme Beattie, a local structural engineer, who had worked with a reconnaissance team in Seattle after the Nisqually earthquake, and again in Chile after 2010’s Maule earthquake, reported that stricter local building regulations that had taken place in the mid-2000’s appeared to have been beneficial to Christchurch.  Of course, we are seeing older buildings that did not fare so well, and understandably so. 

It seems to me that an earthquake would be one of the worst natural disasters to really be ready for.  Those who live in areas prone to earthquakes would be wise to do all they can to be prepared, just as persons who live in tornado-prone areas should know where the nearest shelter or storm cellar is, and what to do in that type of emergency.  

For earthquake preparedness, here are some suggestions from the United States Geological Society.  These steps are taken based on “The Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety” handbook, Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country: 

  1. Secure it now!  Your risk of injury or death following the next earthquake or other disaster can be reduced by eliminating hazards throughout your home, neighborhood, workplace, or school.  Conduct a “hazard hunt” to help identify and fix things such as unsecured televisions, computers, bookcases, furniture, unstrapped water heaters, etc.  Securing these items now will help protect you tomorrow.
  2. Make a plan.  Make sure that your emergency plan includes evacuation and reunion plans; your out-of-state contact person’s name and number, location of emergency supplies, and other pertinent information.  Planning for an earthquake, terrorist attack, or other emergency is not that much different from planning for a party or vacation.
  3. Make disaster kits.  These kits should be stored in accessible locations at home, work, and in your car.  Having these supplies readily available can reduce the impact of an earthquake, a terrorist incident or other emergency on you and your family.  These kits should include food, water, flashlights, portable radios, batteries, first aid kit, cash, medications, whistle, fire extinguisher.
  4. Is your place safe?  Most houses are not as safe as they could be.  There are things that you can do to improve the structural integrity of your home.  Check out inadequate foundations, unbraced cripple walls, unreinforced masonry and vulnerable pipes.  A contractor or engineer can help you identify your buildings’ weaknesses and fix them now.
  5. DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON!  These are the exact instructions that the children and adults  in New Zealand have been trained to do.  Know what to do during an earthquake, regardless of being at home, work, school, or just out and about.  Taking these proper actions can save lives and reduce your risk of death or injury.  During earthquakes, drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly.  Be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.
  6. Check it out!  One of the first things to do following a major disaster is to check for injuries and damages that need immediate attention.  Make sure you are trained in first aid and in damage assessment techniques.  You should know how to administer first aid and how to identify hazards such as damaged electrical, gas, water, sewage lines.  Be ready to report damage to city or county government.
  7. Communicate and recover!  Communication is an important step in recovery efforts following a major disaster.  Turn on the portable radio for information and advisories.  If your home is damaged, contact your insurance agent right away to begin the process.  For most Presidentially declared disasters, resources will also be available from federal, state, and local government agencies. 

Most of these suggestions would apply in different emergency situations, as stated.  We have talked about emergency supply kits and being prepared in many articles.  But truthfully, have we done anything about it?  I need to get things better organized.  We never know what may be coming.  To the people of New Zealand, we pray for successful rescues of the many who are missing, and that they will be able to come back from this devastating earthquake better than ever.

Source: USGS


When news of an 8.8 earthquake hit the Latin American country of Chile on Saturday, President Obama sent word to President Michelle Bachelet, that the U.S. is ready to help.   Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left Sunday for a planned 5-day trip to Latin America.  She also promised that rescue and recovery support is available.

Thus far, Chile has reported 708 deaths resulting from the earthquake.  Concepcion, population 670,000, was hardest hit.  The quake’s epicenter was reported offshore and 21 miles underground, which was about 200 miles from Chile’s largest city, Santiago.

President Bachelet has ordered the country’s military troops to assist local police in controlling looting.  She has appealed for help from other countries, as well.

Although the earthquake measured stronger than the Haiti quake, the devastation and death count was much higher in Haiti, whose death toll is 220,000.  Millions of persons remain homeless, and still in need of food, water, and shelter.  The location of the epicenter of Haiti’s earthquake was 8 miles underground, and on the edge of Port-au-Prince.  After the Saturday quake, there was the threat of tsunamis as far away as Russia and Japan; however, there have been no immediate reports of serious damage from any countries.

Chile is the wealthiest country in Latin America; Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  Chile has architectural structures that can handle natural disasters better than the buildings in Haiti that were poorly built, and crumbled on top of each other.  February, 2010, has not been kind to our friends to the south.  Help came from all over the world when the earthquake happened in Haiti.  When Chile decides what their main needs will be, dedicated rescue teams and workers of all types will be there.  Thankfully, their infrastructure and government can handle things well, and they are better able to take care of their people.

We pray for the safety of all volunteers who travel to Chile and for the well-being of the citizens of that country.  Let’s hope for peace and quiet for a long time!


It goes without saying that the devastation of the earthquake Haiti experienced January 12th has touched everyone.  The scenes that are described by the media can’t begin to show the true horror of what is being experienced by the persons who are victims, as well as those playing a part in their rescue.  February 12th was set aside as a National Day of Prayer in Haiti, and the 12th through 15th as days of prayers to remember their loved ones.

Haiti was a very poor country to begin with and most of the population did not have the conveniences that we take for granted.  Water, electricity, and sanitation were things that many of their citizens did without.  Now, the situation is even worse.  International aid workers have faced many obstacles since Day One: an overwhelmed airport, blocked roads, lack of communication, electricity, food, and water.  Topping that off, crime is also a problem for those who are doing their level best to make things better.  Looting always seems to follow a catastrophe.  Some of the rescue personnel have had U.N. military escorts.  Because there were no national building codes, many of the structures were built without rebar, or any type of solid support, which caused them to crumble.  Aftershocks have also added to the fears of everyone involved.

We have seen a myriad of highly trained rescue teams, physicians, nurses, and missionaries, all representing their countries with one goal in mind – helping those who can’t help themselves.  When they leave, other volunteers will replace them.  Many who were involved in search and rescue were equipped with high-tech devices such as fiber-optic cameras and ultra-sensitive listening devices.  These workers are skilled in complex rescue measures.

Now is the beginning of the rainy season for Haiti.  This is just one more problem that they will face.  As reported by the BBC, an international aid project called Haiti Flash Appeal, was launched by several humanitarian agencies experienced in dealing with natural disasters.  Ninety-five percent of the $577 million target has been met.  This target is an estimate of funds that will be required for the next six months in the areas of food, health, emergency shelter, and agriculture.

A brief breakdown of this information and the percentage of goals met for the appeal are as listed:

  • Emergency shelter  (47%).  There are still 1.2 million persons sleeping in the streets, with at least 650,000 homeless children among them.
  • Sanitation (33%).  Although bottled water is being provided, there is not enough drinking water or sanitary waste provisions.
  • Food (57%).  With so many to feed, food has not yet reached all of the three million people who need it.
  • Logistics (100%).  Roads have been cleared, and the ports are providing access to allow more deliveries.

Philippine Online Chronicles reports that food distribution has become somewhat organized, by a coupon system.  Women are given the coupons, as it was felt that the food would be better distributed to families when given to the women.  Crime, as mentioned earlier, is rampant, and many women have lost their husbands and male family members, and are not safe from becoming victims of rape, and/or theft of food or whatever little they may have.

It is hoped that the funds sent to charities for Haiti will be managed by the United Nations or others that will help Haitians restore their lives in a responsible and productive way.

Texas America Safety Company has sent gloves, respirators, and disposable clothing for use  in the recovery process.  We, along with millions of people all over the world, send our prayers, as well.


In the early evening of January 12th, an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale struck the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti. The epicenter of the quake was about 10 miles south of Port-Au-Prince, the country’s densely populated capital, and the damage was disastrous.

The U.N. headquarters and the Presidential Palace became piles of rubble, with persons buried underneath them, in addition to businesses, hospitals, schools, and homes.  Some buildings are still standing, but it is feared that they could come crumbling down at any time.  An estimated 200,000 people are dead, thousands more are injured and countless more are still missing.  Aftershocks continue to rock the capital.  Countries from all over the world have sent rescue and medical personnel to the aid of Haitians and others who live there – from babies to the elderly.  Medical professionals worry that many of the injured will not be able to survive their wounds, due to the risk of infection and disease, and lack of antibiotics and other badly needed medicines.  The arrival and distribution of medical supplies, water and food, has been slowed down due to the lack of sufficient landing space, as there is only a single-runway airport.

The United States plans to have around 16,000 troops in Haiti by the end of this week.  Heavy construction equipment will be used to clear pathways for transportation of food, water, clothing, and medicines to reach the people who so desperately need it. There are more than 2 million persons who have been left homeless.

Texas America Safety Company the parent company for www.blog4safety.com has donated respirators, gloves, and disposable clothing for use in the relief effort through FEED THE CHILDREN.  We encourage everyone to join us in giving to a reputable charity.  All donations will help these folks survive until they are able to rebuild their lives and their country.  Pray for the homeless, injured, those who have lost loved ones, and for the wonderful volunteers who are working so hard to help them.