Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Superstorms?!?

Superstorm Sandy has wreaked havoc on the East Coast and the images I've seen are devastating. For me, Sandy is yet another natural disaster hitting one of the places I have called "home."


When I was 9, a category 4 hurricane hit the island I lived on at the time. The house we were in was strong and we were very lucky to escape the total devastation that spread across the rest of the island. We also had plenty of water and food to take us through the weeks without power. My parents and their friends drove around the day after the storm and took video. My "mother" and I returned to the US soon after until conditions got better there. 


Then last year, on March 11th, I experienced the Kanto-Tohoku earthquake that generated a tsunami big enough to wipe out entire towns, change coastlines, and cripple a nuclear plant. My parents called me every day trying to convince me to leave, but my husband and I could not fathom leaving our home in a time of crisis. We stayed and donated money, did fundraising, and when fall came, we donated our warm winter clothes and electric blankets to the temporary residences. 


And here in Oahu, I have experienced both an earthquake that resulted in over 12 hours without electricity on most of the island, and just last Saturday, a tsunami warning that was serious enough to shut down most of Waikiki and send people in my neighborhood to higher ground. 


In all these situations, one thing I have learned is not to think that it "won't happen to me," and to always have enough supplies for an emergency. 


In America it's not as much of an issue because many people buy in bulk to save money, and canned goods are a normal thing to have in one's pantry. (However, sometimes people forget to periodically check their cabinets and use things before the expiration date and replace them, so a bit of maintenance is required for this) People usually have some kind of grill for their summer barbecues that come in handy during a power outage too. 


In Japan, space is limited so many people do not store extra toilet paper, canned/dried food, bottled water, etc. in their house, which led to the panic buying situation in spring of 2011. With Tokyo residents already experiencing one crisis in the past year, and scientists constantly saying how Tokyo is overdue for their big earthquake, it is more important than ever to be prepared.


In your house, you should have at least 2-3 days worth of basic supplies, such as canned/dried food and water, toilet paper and wet wipes, and other essentials such as some extra blankets, a portable gas stove or a grill, and a battery/manual powered flashlight and radio. 
It's also good to prepare an emergency bag in case you have to evacuate. In one bag, you should put (for 1 person)
2 liters of water
a bag of biscuits, a bag of hard candy, and some canned or instant food
2 packs of wet wipes
1 blanket
1 battery/manual powered flashlight and radio
1 pocket knife
 1 or 2 changes of clothes
a small amount of cash and photocopies of ID and other important documents. 
Having a bag already set up will make any evacuation easier and give you more time to gather precious items and your every day items with less panic.



Also, as if there weren't enough good reasons to breastfeed, when we evacuated because of the tsunami warning, I didn't have to worry about bottles or formula or anything, I just put a pack of diapers and wipes in the car. In America, there are many mothers who don't breastfeed because of some social stigma, because formula companies tell them things like it's more convenient, and hospitals push formula on newborns. Even in Japan, more and more mothers are supplementing with formula and decreasing their own supply. 
It would be so much better if more mothers breastfed and wet-nursed in times of crisis instead of turning to formula (which is actually more dangerous than wet-nursing because of lack of clean water and facilities to properly sanitize bottles in times of disaster.)


With it getting colder I hope everyone in the areas ravaged by Sandy are keeping warm by bundling up and drinking warm drinks whenever possible. When I was in Japan, we only had a small gas heater in the living room, and I wore thick padded room jackets inside and usually had some hot water in the kitchen for tea (and a thermos for when I went outside). When my parents came to visit me in Japan my "mother" relentlessly complained about how cold our apartment was, so I wonder how they are dealing with their power and heat being off for over 3 days now.


Anyway, my thoughts are with all the victims. I will do what I can to help from here in Hawaii. 

4 件のコメント:

  1. One should ALWAYS be prepared. You never know what life or Nature has in store for you.

    I read an article in The Guardian yesterday, about a mother in the überpoor Haiti giving birth during Sandy, and wondering what she would do to feed her newborn and herself. I could only shake my head. "Your baby just needs your milk".

    I found the article: "Aftermath of hurricane Sandy leaves Haiti facing new disaster".

    As I side note:

    I've watched your last videos and I love how chubby Chinami is. She is really thriving and smiling all the time. You're doing a great job, congratulations.

    1. Thank you! I read the article...very shocking, and I cannot believe that in all of their 24 hour coverage they never mentioned such conditions in Haiti.
      In Haiti there are still a lot of old wives tales and misconceptions all around...mothers are told their milk is "bad" (usually due to some spiritual/supernatural belief) so they let the baby starve because they can't afford formula.

  2. My boyfriend and I just recently started stocking up on food and emergency supplies for when the next big earthquake hits Tokyo. I'm terrified every time I think about it, and hope we'll be alright. I don't really want to move back to America, but just knowing that it's looming ahead scares me...

    1. I don't think you should be terrified, just stay informed and prepared for the worst at all times.