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earthquake, Japan, Project Tohoku, tsunami

Did the Earth Move For You?

We were all rudely awoken this morning by a long and violent aftershock, measured initially at 7.1 but later downgraded to a 6.8. It was big enough to have us all standing up and looking bewildered and wondering whether to put more clothes on. Usually I just open one eye, check no one else is panicking too much and then go back to sleep. Today I learned a valuable lesson; when living in an earthquake zone take the time to sew up the hole in the seat of your pajamas as and when it happens because you might have to jump out of bed in them in front of all your mates.

Little tremors become mundane but the building you’re in bouncing around underneath you is something you don’t really get used to. Japan is one of the most seismically active countries in the world and building codes are strict so most people do not interrupt their daily routine unless the quake is unusually powerful. This morning though, something happened which put everyone on edge. The tsunami warning sirens sounded.

The message that came over the loud speaker warned people on the seashore to move inland and predicted a half meter rise in the water level. The block where Sakari base stands was flooded by the tsunami but little destruction was caused. Building materials were damaged but the buildings themselves remained sound and intact so we stood on the balcony and waited. About ten minutes later the warning was cancelled and we started to put our schedules back together. All work on the waterfront was called off and teams consolidated in order to put everyone at ease and ensure the safety of everyone working with us.

We have continued to experience aftershocks all day, but smaller and shorter than this morning’s. To all the mums reading: we’re all fine and work will get back to normal tomorrow barring further incidents. Stay tuned for more updates …

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About Jess UK

Fell in love with the crazy, inspiring, all-or-nothing world of disaster response and the wonderfully ridiculous, hard-working people who are drawn to it. Currently working in the Philippines as part of the recovery efforts after Typhoon Washi/Sendong! Want to know more? Check out disasterchasers.wordpress.com.

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